Acoustic Alchemy's 'Roseland'

By John-Paul Helk,

To celebrate 30 years of Acoustic Alchemy, the band released Roseland in 2011, and it is certainly a fitting way to commemorate their years of success. While at first listen some songs off the album might seem to be nothing more than elevator music, a deeper listen illuminates the intricacies and purposeful movements the artists have woven into their instrumental songs. The album is a display of emotion and talent that is both relaxing and engaging.

The songs all have a certain movement to them, a certain story they tell. The tones and rhythms are used to evoke feeling and convey a gradual development. Over a typically simple melody, the instrumentalists weave a web of notes that keeps the listener interested despite the lack of words in the songs.

The album has a very new-age and jazz based sound, with some latent Latin influences. The guitars find themselves backed by a variety of instruments, including keyboard, bass, and various percussion instruments depending on the tone of the song.

Despite the band's name, their music is not entirely acoustic. The album utilizes various effects on guitar and keyboard to help add flavor to the music. The distinct acoustic guitar in almost every song does, however, tie the album together nicely.

The song “World Stage” is very different from the rest of the album, and is possibly the best song on the album. The skillful guitar playing is used to create a progression of emotion that starts out quiet and a little sad but slowly grows and develops to become exuberant and energetic while still maintaining a consistency and unity throughout the song. For anyone who enjoys instrumental music, this song and the rest of the album are certainly worth a listen.

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