Waldon Reed, Jr.: Resonance Reconnaissance
Waldon Reed's refreshingly non-derivative Resonance Reconnaissance features an electric fusion trio of guitar, bass, and electronic drums. Reed handles all the guitar, and occasional keyboard sequencing, with Paul Laginess on bass and Norm Euker on drums.
The songwriting, all by Reed, consists of riff based fusion with sparse clean guitar parts, including an introduction to "Corean Samba" that strongly evokes Robert Fripp's clean arpeggios on King Crimson's "Vroom Vroom." The styles and tempos range widely, with some raucous rock tunes and several shuffles. The tiresome rag of "Recess" sounds like a Kenny Loggins movie soundtrack, but the rest of the songs are solid, moderately heavy, guitar fusion. Some of the music includes a melodic Steve Vai influence, with harmonized guitar lines soaring over the backing chords.
The recording and mixing, by Reed and the whole band respectively, maintain a clear sound with distinct separation between the instruments. They chose good electronic drum sounds, as the drums remain unobtrusive and do not sound overly electronic. Resonance Reconnaissance doesn't sound like a fully professional recording, but nothing in the sound attracts attention to the self-produced recording.
Laginess' bass work lays a solid foundation, particularly his low range on the five string bass. Reed's guitar tone and playing impress, partly because he doesn't have an unoriginally dominant fusion guitar influence like the derivative styles often found among independent fusion guitarists. He uses few effects save a wah pedal, and the guitar sounds retain a pure, unaltered feel. Although his compositions remain similarly non-derivative, they also lack a spark of brilliance that might boost his solid songwriting to a higher level.
The liner notes contain no background artist information, and no Internet link or address where such information could be found. Resonance Reconnaissance would be a solid debut record for an independent artist, if it is Reed's debut, while still showing room for compositional refinement.