Friday, 5 December 2014

Nili Brosh: A Matter of Perception - Rock Fusion album review and interview

Nili Brosh: A Matter of Perception

Nili Brosh is currently in the vanguard of female progressive rock fusion guitarist. Her guitar skills and hard work ethic have garnered endorsements from market leading brands like Ibanez and EMG. Her dedication to the guitar has landed her gigs and successful tours with the Tony MacAlpine Band, and the Ethan Brosh Band, opening on Yngwie Malmsteen'​s tour of USA and Canada.

Her critically acclaimed first album "Through The Looking Glass" had already shown Nili to be a stand out player. Some time has passed since that d├ębut and now Nili has just released her sophomore album "A Matter of Perception". The album has taken a good amount of time to record and produce, because of her gigging and project work,  but it looks like it is all about to pay off, as this new release really does take Nili's playing to another level.

A "Matter of Perception" feels like a top line studio production and features top name artists like Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Stu Hamm, Bryan Beller, along with her touring Tony MacAlpine band drummer Aquiles Priester.  With that level of player you can pretty much guarantee the rhythm section will be excellent. I found that to be the case, with the production beefy and tight, with rich guitar tones, fusion keyboards, punchy bass and crisp, snappy drums. So the overall production is nothing short of excellent. This comes as no surprise to me when I know one of the drummers is the super drummer Virgil Donati. Indeed Nili includes a cover of Virgil's insane time twisting Alien Hip-Hop, from the Serious Young Insects album by On The Virg.

Stand out cuts for me are the albums opener "A Matter of Perception", "Exit Strategy", "The Chase" and "Adaptable Creatures". These tunes are slightly more progressive in feel and less straight ahead rock than the others. Writing is sophisticated and intelligent, with all tunes weighing in around the four or five minute mark, keeping their musical tightness, and avoiding any overt musical excursions or trite throw away rockers.

With this release you are left with  the impression that Nili wants to be respected for both composition and playing skills and for the most part I think she has succeeded. The guitars are big, rich and full through out, from crunch to clean, without any hint of Djent even if Nili uses an Ibanez extended range guitar. The solos are well thought through, laced with the sort of  prerequisite guitar techniques you would expect for an album of this level. Nili's bending and vibrato is strong, confident and full, leaving me with an overall impression of a player who is bristling with confidence.  If you're looking for musical capability, check out Alien Hip Hop for complexity  and, like me, you'll get the impression that the  time Nili has spent touring with the Tony MacAlpine band has paid off.

I spent a week with this album in my car, blasting out the tracks on my journey to and from work. So overall, I can easily recommend this album to fans of rock fusion guitar, many of the tracks are growers, improving with each play, leaving me enjoying repeated play listening.   There are no throw away tracks and the playing, production and writing is top quality, with strong progressive solo work through out, without being overly "shred" laden.  Add it on to your Christmas list,, you won't be disappointed.

Nili Brosh: A Matter of Perception
Tracklist:

01. A Matter of Perception
02. The Spring Tune
03. Double Entendre
04. Exit Strategy
05. Silence of Saturday
06. The Chase
07. Eli
08. Adaptable Creatures
09. Alien Hip Hop
10. Yolanda

Buy a copy at: http://nilibrosh.spinshop.com/

Nili Brosh - Yamaha THR-10 Amp Demo w/ Solos from "A Matter of Perception"



Nili Brosh has her CD release show at The Baked Potato in Los Angeles on December 10th So if you are in the area don't forget as Nili will have a special guest or two who played on A Matter of Perception! Nili will be doing two sets and you can buy advanced tickets right now at: http://www.thebakedpotato.com/GiftShopPages/GiftShopAdvSalesNiliBrosh.html

I was lucky enough to catch up with Nili to talk about writing and producing for the album.

How long did it take you to record the album?

The recording process was spread over a period of several months, because I had to take breaks in between - mostly for gigging and other projects that needed more urgent attention - but the way I went about it is I did one session per song for both rhythm and lead tracks. So I guess that puts us at about 20 sessions, give or take. My engineer and I met several times a week over a span of a few months to finish it all, and this included session time that we used to talk about arrangements, additional parts we can add, etc. We tried to keep it as organized as possible in order to stay focused and creative.

How did you know when you had finished the album?

I think it's generally a good idea to impose deadlines on yourself to keep from procrastinating and getting to the point of counter-productivity, but on the whole I just went by what feels right. In other words, I only stopped working on a song when I KNEW it's at its best. If I still felt that it can be drastically improved, I kept working. So for lack of a better term…it really just has to feel right to me; it's a gut feeling. I believe that after you've gone through the creative process several times, you develop a sense for when something feels complete.

How do you know when a track is finished?

As in the previous question, I approach each song with a certain trust in my gut feeling. It's easy to tell when something needs work, but of course this doesn't mean that getting a song to the finish line is easy. Sometimes making the right changes and improvements can in fact be an agonizing process - it definitely was at times during the making of this record. I have certainly scrapped ideas every once in a while…but in most cases I could tell when an idea had potential and when I felt like something good can still come out of it. Those were the cases in which I had decided to rehash said ideas as much as I needed to in order to feel good about the song. That's pretty much how I've arrived at this entire record…!

How do you decide what is going into a track and how do you name it?

Different things go into different tracks. A lot of times it starts with a melody in my head, which I believe is one of the most organic ways to write. Other times I write riffs by "messing around" on the guitar for a while. With "A Matter of Perception", a lot of the songs actually started out on paper, which was a new writing exercise for me: I wanted to experiment - purely as an exercise - with different time signatures. So I literally wrote slashes out on a piece of paper to indicate a certain number of 8th notes, for example…and from there, I used different combinations to try and create interesting note groupings, grooves, or polymetric ideas. Several of the riffs actually came to life that way - first on paper, then on the guitar. It was something I hadn't tried before, and the challenge was to find a way to make something musical out of something that started out so theoretical.

With the track titles, I usually just ask myself what the song sounds like to me, what feeling it evokes when I listen to it, or how the song was inspired.

Nili Brosh performs "Silence of Saturday" for EMGtv


What equipment did you use in the studio?

I mostly used my main amp - the Peavey JSX head with an Egnater Tourmaster 2X12 cabinet, and an assortment of microphones. My engineer Sabi Saltiel and I recorded the tracks in Los Angeles at both his studio and mine.

How did you record the drums for the album?

I had started out creating song demos in Logic 9 using programmed drums, and sent them to the drummers who played on the record - Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, and Aquiles Priester. They each took my demo ideas and greatly enhanced them, and then recorded their real drum performances at their own studios to send back to me.

Do you approach an album as though it is you meister work?

I think of any record as a snapshot of a certain time in an artist's life, and this is how this record felt to me. The work that I put out now can only reflect this particular point in my musical growth, development, and life in general. I'm sure that it won't be the last album I ever put out, and I hope to grow and release better work every time I go through this process. My perpetual goal is to be a little bit better every day. This will always be the album I made when I was 24…let's see what the next few years in my development can inspire!

When the album is done how do you feel about it?

I am both proud of this record as well as glad that it's done and out! It took a lot of work to get it to where it is now, especially in terms of the writing and the arrangements - it took a lot of rehashing and rewriting, many drafts to get it to where it is now. I'm both happy and exhausted! Time to rest!

How did you decide what the album title and design would be?

The album title was directly inspired by the journey I went through in writing the music. During the creative process, it can be very difficult to keep your objectivity about your own writing. In other words, it can be tough to tell what material is good, what you like and don't like, whether you dislike it because it really isn't good or just because of your own insecurities…it can be a struggle to work through that cloudiness and get the material to where you truly feel it's meant to go. So much of it is subjective and psychological. After dealing with it for a while, I knew that this struggle was really the focal point of the record. "A Matter of Perception" just seemed to be a very appropriate title to describe what I was feeling.

As far as the artwork goes, I used the same photographer as I did on my first record ("Through The Looking Glass") - Dana Tarr. The concept and art direction was done by Michael Mesker, whose work I really love. I knew that he understood the title and my vision for this album, and would design the packaging accordingly.

Who were your musical influences on this album?

I think I was simply inspired by all the musicians who played on this record (Alex Argento, Mike Ball, Bryan Beller, Anthony Crawford, Virgil Donati, Stu Hamm, Ameya Kalamdani, Eli Marcus, Marco Minnemann, Aquiles Priester, as well as Sabi Saltiel - engineer/co-producer). The way I worked on this music was that I created demos of the initial song ideas, sent them to the players, and reworked my ideas once I got the final basic tracks (drums, bass, keys) back. I was greatly inspired by their rhythm section ideas and used them as a springboard to improve the writing, the arrangements, and the soloing ideas. It is without a doubt that this music would never be near where it is today without each and every one of these guys - for that I am eternally grateful!

Nili Brosh plays "A Matter of Perception" on EMGtv


Important links

Online shop for the record and other cool merch - http://nilibrosh.spinshop.com/

www.facebook.com/NiliBroshMusic
www.youtube.com/NiliWafers
Twitter: @NiliBrosh
www.nilibrosh.com


Francesco Artusato: Our Dying Sun - Guitar Playthrough - Chilling!



iTunes: http://smarturl.it/TFAP_iTunes
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/TFAP_GooglePlay
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http://www.sumerianrecords.com
THE FRANCESCO ARTUSATO PROJECT - Our Dying Sun (Guitar Playthrough)

Alberto Carcano: "Bagpipe" Tapping Guitar - Moto Perpetuo - Insane!



I was asked to write the fingering to run the perpetual motion of Paganini with 8 fingers tapping, with this video you can see better all steps in the song.
To develop a homogeneous sound in the attack of the notes is preferable to use a stamp instead of clean overdrive, strengthens your fingers.

Insane! (Alberto Carcano)