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Natural Elements

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Album Review

Not quite complex enough to be jazz, not quite mellow or ambient enough to be new age, and just a little too cerebral to just be pop music, Acoustic Alchemy's Natural Elements is its own little oddity. These tunes, based on the dueling acoustic guitars of Gregory Carmichael and Nick Webb, are invariably melodic, at times featuring a sort of folkiness that suggests Bert Jansch and John Renbourn's work in the Pentangle, and the mixture of acoustic guitar and synthesizers is not really that much different from what Vini Reilly was doing in the far hipper Durutti Column around the same time. On the down side, John Parson's production, which is heavy on his own synthesizer programming, is as slick as fiberglass rubbed down with bacon fat and causes even the most agreeable tunes, like the lovely "Late Night Duke Street," to slide away into nothingness after all but the most careful listens. A fine album, Natural Elements is nonetheless only for committed fans of the genre.


Formed: 1981 in England

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '00s, '10s

During the late '80s and '90s, Nick Webb and Greg Carmichael produced a series of mellow albums classified as adult contemporary music, though the guitarists encompass the range of jazz and new age as well. Both grew up in England during the '60s listening to pop/rock, though Webb studied jazz guitar at Leeds College of Music while Carmichael focused on classical guitar at the London College of Music. Originally formed by Webb and Simon James, Acoustic Alchemy later became Webb and Carmichael; the...
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Natural Elements, Acoustic Alchemy
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