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Ominox: A Contemporary Past
Reviewed by Laurie Monk

Lale Larson is an understated, intelligent and immense musical talent whose ability is well known. "Contemporary" Past is another Liquid Note Records CD and is a retrospective of recordings from Lales' fusion band, Ominox. The material is also reflective of his musical influences of that period: Allan Holdsworth, Tribal Tech, Chick Corea Electric Band, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.

The first track is a prime example of the material on offer. Weighing in at over nine minutes long, "Incommunicado", features a chunky, repeated bass and bass keyboard motif, with splashes of military style snare drum. The metallic steel drum sounding keys back a catchy main theme provided by guitar and bassist Fredrik Möller. Lale stretches out with an expressive two minute key solo, highlighting his
incredible playing style.

Opening with a descending guitar riff, "Contemporary Past" features, Fredrik Möller leveling out on a simple catchy refrain. One minute thirty seconds in, there's another chance for the captain of the keyboards to show his quality. Dense flurries of keyboard notes, cascading and rippling hyper speed peddle tones that hint of the
underlying melody. You are left to wonder at the shear musicality of the man.

"In Time" opens with the eery quality, of Allan Holdsworths' Wardenclyffe Tower. The vocal line is delivered by a light, intangible and delicate voice of Frida Moller and lends an ethereal quality to the song. The vocals give way to some more laid back keys emulating the vocal line and featuring Lales distinctive use of pitch bending giving a blown instrument attribute to the note shapes. The five minute
plus solo also encapsulates many of the keyboard attributes that Lale uses to perfect his expression.

"Yes!" is my personal favourite, with a melody which remains vivid in the memory long after the track has finished. This song is another nine minuter and has a more straight ahead jazz feel to its construction. This structure enables the bass, lead guitar and Lale to show their improvisational talents. Guitarist, Bo Eriksson, jazz picks his way over the bubbling bass, and drum fills. Lales' keys embark lightly over jazz snare drum splashes, finally interweaving with walking bass lines and intricate chord changes with an amazing fluidness and sensibility.

For guitar fans "Clockwork" features the awesome blown feel guitar work of Krister Jonsson. Kristers' distinctive touch and tone is a highlight not to be missed. Contrasting this, Lales' solo ebbs and flows from slow melody to whirlwind, driven blizzards of lightning fast notes. The good news for guitar fans is that Lale and Krister Jonsson are set to feature on the new "Karmakanic" CD.

"Virtual Reality" is reminiscent of "Secrets" era Allan Holdsworth. The track gives Lale the opportunity to play the piano, which he does beautifully. Like Allan's keyboard player,Alan Pasqua, sprinkling, sparkling notes over a simple drum and piano chord backing. The guitar solo work by Jimmy Lou complements the piano perfectly and makes this a stand out track.

All tracks from the album are well thought out and constructed. With ten tracks and over sixty five minutes of music its no surprise that there are times when the music fails to gel. Although some of the tracks are less melodic and more impenetrable, the keyboard solos remain excellent through out. This CD will appeal to fans of the
fusion genre, but also has melodic qualities that have the potential to appeal to a broader audience. I would certainly recommend it to fans of Allan Holdsworth et al.