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Music Review: Justin Piper – ‘Transcend’

Guitarist Justin Piper has his own signature style. It’s pure, melodic, and clarion in nature. His latest CD, Transcend, cannot be locked into one genre but crosses over multiple styles from rock and pop to improvisational jazz, world music, and cutting edge ambient. Both artistic and stylistic, Piper takes the stiffness out of melodic formations and opens them up to creative imaginings. He makes it possible to hone melodic-sounding compositions without making the music sound formulaic, predictable, or genetically homogeneous.

Piper does not sound like any other guitarist, and yet, his work shows breeds mastered by many other guitarists. The clarion vibrations in Piper’s notes through “Bobbing” are uncluttered and clear-sounding, etching crisp inflections. Rambling freely, his introspective musings on guitar are shrouded in lacy, orchestral-like silhouettes that amble with a lightness reminiscent of a breeze gliding across a meadow. The sleek ripples in the guitar riffs along “Bugs” switch to a flamenco flicker in “Camels,” displaying Piper’s diversity to explore other paths.

The improvised verses of the guitar ebb and flow intermittently in “Falling Through the Dark,” garnishing the arcs of the notes with an Asian accent. “Fayetteville Honey” is articulated by a country-folk tint in the guitar thrums, crafting an idyllic atmosphere. The recording changes to soothing inflections in the guitar licks through “Lakeside,” making for ambient soundscapes with a cutting edge-slant.

The balladry wisps of the guitar chords coursing through “Lenny Three” have an airy texture, moving into the balmy climates of “Nearly Arriving” and “Rondo.” The rapid fluctuations in the chord movements of “Peace Three” are augmented by the bubbling drumbeats. “Snow Shower” has undertones of sorrow in the melodic forms, while the folksy texture of the guitar figures in “Through Composed” are buoyant, offering a soothing melodic pitch with a world music complexion.

Justin Piper fuses multiple influences and music breeds on his recording. The result is a melodic tapestry of idyllic figures and balmy ambiences. Soundscapes have a clarion pitch and move with the ease of a breeze gliding effortlessly, denoting Piper’s natural talent.

About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island.

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