2 More Reviews
By Dave on Wednesday, October 3rd 2007 1:51 pm
Chris Piccirillo over at Progscape writes:
The songs drip with emotion and the lyrical style of Dave’s playing allows the melodies to get stuck inside your head long after each listen. Other highlights on this album include the wonderfully Genesis-like “Hieland Road” who’s Mellotron intro will have you immediately thinking Foxtrot before you get brought to an entirely different place. The upbeat drums and acoustics really drive this song along and I can absolutely see this being an excellent song to have blasting while driving on a twisting country road in the late summer. Another favorite is the dark, almost atonal blues nightmare “Picnic at the Slag Heap”; it bubbles and grinds, leaving you with an unsettled feeling. The hypnotic “The Water Discipline” closes out the album unexpectedly, almost like a cool-down after the preceding epic work-out “Somnium”.
Dave Kulju’s Abstract Expression is a wonderful contrast in styles yet maintains an overall musical identity making for an extremely enjoyable song package.
And Rickard Kolp takes us song by song though his views on the entire record.
Dave Kulju’s Abstract Expression in many ways is just that. A guitar virtuoso’s painting by notes. Dave is the master mind behind this exquisite rendering and masquerades using electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, drum kit, guitar synthesizer, Keyboards and all programming. We have a number of special guest that include Frank Basile on drums Pleiades, Depth of Autumn, Picnic at the Slag Heap and The Main Attraction, Bryan Powers on drums Internal Combustion and Don’t Mind Me, Joel Mahathy on Theremin and guitar solo on Picnic at the Slag Heap, Doug Upton organ solo on Somnium and Ian Cameron on Violin Pleiades. Let’s grab a brush and give this one a try.
Internal Combustion – Well if we were painting this first tune would have burned our canvas to cinders. It comes out combusting in a spontaneously ignitable aura of mass fusion. It pulsates as if it’s ready to explode but the interludes and orchestral keyboards in the middle temper its power. Its wrestling theme is punctuated by some fine drumming by Bryan Powers.
Don’t Mind Me – The mood that is created in this tune is totally abstract. It starts off with a beautiful guitar chord for the first forty seconds or so and follows with a layered guitar effect that becomes grungy and harsh. The piano then takes the led for a short time before Dave comes in over the top in a mild manner before becoming grungy and harsh all over again. A short guitar solo breaks in at just the right time.
Hieland Road – Strap on the back packs and let’s kick this hike into overdrive. The road features a driving led guitar over an acoustic back drop. We are on the edge looking down until midway when we shift to some fine drum programming along with some nice bass work and a sudden ending.
[note: The drums on Heiland Road were real acoustic drums and not programmed. My Drumming debut actually. -Dave]
Pleides – Frank Basile’s drums open this tune and do a nice job of cascading throughout the entire tune. We have a small piece of violin thrown in by Ian Cameron along with some precisely placed keyboard work by Dave. The layered guitars dual in and out in a meandering way as if to tell you something is about to happen. At the 3:50 mark Dave’s solo kicks it in high gear before Frank Basile’s drums ratchet us back. You can just feel the thought that went into a tune such as this.
Depth of Autumn – Once again the abstract master is in full effect. Here we start with an acoustic ballad that is manipulated into some type of swing that is transposed into a squawking guitar that over lies the melody. Dave’s guitar finally takes to the forefront and caters to this melodic tune.
Read the rest at http://www.richardkolp.com/DaveKuljuAbstract.htm
AE Review from Gnosis
By Dave on Wednesday, September 12th 2007 11:23 am
Excerpt from AE review in Gnosis by Eddie Lascu
I think Kulju has an evident ability to come up with some great, melodic riffs that will make you hum along by the third time you will play the album. All in all, a very enjoyable album that came from that little place called the soul of the artist.
USA Progressive Music: AE gets 9.6 out of 10
By Dave on Friday, August 24th 2007 2:56 pm
Dave Kulju - Abstract Expression 9.6/10
Track 1 "Internal Combustion" starts with an instant high. Some great guitar playing interspersed with an interesting string section, moves along taking you in but not challenging you too much. A good start.
Track 2 "Don't Mind Me" is a more in-depth affair with a blistering solo and some wonderful guitar textures. Right from the outset Dave shows his skills as both a guitarist and a producer and it's apparent he really knows how to put his point across.
Track 3 "Hieland Road" starts with a lovely bit of Mellotron and then goes into a fantastic staccato riff which glides into a wonderfully sublime bass solo. Great playing throughout ensures that for a non-vocal album Abstract Expression manages to hold your attention.
Track 4 " Pleiades" is a beautiful piece with a classic Prog piano sequence which really takes you away. This is then followed by some great soloing and wonderful riffs. Again this piece is very instant.
Track 5 "Depth of Autumn" starts with a lovely acoustic folk section which is over too quickly for me. A clever chord sequence follows in 3/4 timing which then becomes 3/? timing. Very clever indeed. This is the best place for this track as by now the listener is ready for the more in-depth numbers and this one really captures your imagination.
Music in Belgium Review
By Dave on Monday, August 20th 2007 9:06 pm
With the listening of this album, one feels well all the influences comparable by Kulju that it is when it is with the guitar or the keyboards. For example, it is well Mike Oldfield which perspires of the piece "Hieland Road". With the wire of the titles, the jazz-rock'n'roll and an even little fusion mix with the tone progressive. That brings a great richness to the nine titles proposed which represent a advance of several years of compositions.
On "Depth of Autumn", after a beginning very Oldfield, it passes by a Marillion environment all that without never taking the step on its compositions which prove of very good quality. The artist has really a gift for musical construction and it takes a great care to arrangements.
The most interesting beach and also most elaborate is without any doubt this "Somnium". The colors alternate passer by of Zappa with Rush while crossing Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and even Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream at one time. It offers really the complete panel of all qualities of the artist.
In fact the only handicap of this album is to be instrumental. If you can pass above that then you will make a beautiful discovery.
Music in Belgium is actually a general music site (you can read about The Stones, Springsteen and Marilyn Manson there in addition to bands like Porcupine Tree or the Flower Kings). I believe that is my first review from a publication outside the more narrow niche I usually live in.
Electrum writing new music
By Dave on Wednesday, August 15th 2007 11:06 pm
Last night Joe, Gino and I got together to start working on new material for a third album. Despite the fact that the 3 of us haven't played in the same room for several years now, we had some enjoyable spontaneous jams and managed to work through an arrangement to a new song, which is fairly close to complete now.
Joe now has an unorthodox drum setup which leads to some interesting rhythms. Gino doesn't sound like he had any rust in his playing at all after a fairly long layoff from playing bass. I spent the last few weeks buying some gear to turn my stationary recording rig into something I could haul around and would be loud enough to get through rehearsals. The new gear performed well and I played much better than I thought I would.
It was a lot of fun spending some time playing in the same room with the guys. I haven't had the opportunity to play with them or any other musicians for quite some time now so it was nice to get out of the basement and away from a click track for a few hours.