Pino Forastiere Gives a Guitar class From 1 to 8 with Echoes February CD of the Month
Most instrumental musicians name their songs after they’re written, but on his new CD, From 1 to 8, Italian guitarist Pino Forastiere skips that exercise entirely. The compositions’ names are simply “Studio n.1,” through “Studio n.8.” But you won’t need the names to tell them apart. Each composition is a unique journey of impeccable technique and melodic invention.
Pino Forastiere is a scientist of the guitar, but a scientist with soul. Even though he gives his compositions generic names, the music itself is full of melodic exploration and emotional turns.
“Studio n.1” is a delicate pastoral reverie, a walk through trellised gardens and dappled shadows as Forastiere does his finger dance on the guitar. While there’s no doubt that Forastiere is influenced by American finger-style guitarists from John Fahey to Michael Hedges, his sound is also deeply embedded in his own Italian heritage. There is a signature lilt and passionate depth to his music, as heard on introspective songs like “Studio n. 2.” It deserves a far more evocative title, it could be a song of loss or just reflection.
Forastiere’s playing isn’t all pretty filigree. He whips it out on tracks like “Studio n.3,” aggressively tapping his instrument, creating percussive effects and rhythmic accents on this road song. Then he explores his classical side on the multi-themed “Studio n.5,” although there are few nods to jazz as well, as the tune romps like a gazelle. On the third movement of his mini-epic, “Studio n.8” he creates a kinetic, circular theme that’s rooted in the repetition of minimalism, but with playful melodies spinning like gyroscopes, perfectly balanced but just on the edge of spinning out of control. .
Having watched Forastiere perform in the Echoes living room a few times, it’s easy for me to imagine him hunched over his guitar, bending into notes, arching his thick Groucho Marx eyebrows as if the music was bouncing them on a trampoline.
There are many great acoustic guitar players these days, but Pino Forastiere is one of the few who can match impeccable technique with evocative compositions. From 1 to 8 is a study in guitar invention.
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))