Dave Skipper - "Essence"
(Skippy Music 2003, SKIPCD01)

Uploaded to Aural Innovations: July 2004

Dave Skipper is certainly not your average shred guitarist. Remember when Joe Satriani experimented a bit with electronic textures on his album Engines of Creation? Imagine that sound taken to its logical and sometimes illogical extremes, and you’ll be treading the into the exotic territory of Skipper’s music.

Skipper melds some truly intense guitar soloing with freaky electronics, worldbeat rhythms, and experimental noise. Nascent kicks things of with some cosmically inclined space blues before the tabla tapping, electronic rhythms and Middle Eastern scales of Spumescent take over, propelling the listen into an Ozric Tentacles kind of headspace. The guitar is front and center in the 10-minute Intumescent, which careens all over the place from mellow spaciness to dazzling melodic guitar soloing and acoustic strumming, making it my favorite track on the album. Quiescent is a deep space cosmic excursion of freaky electronics, ambient textures, and of course, more brilliant soloing. Irascent is another 10-minute track with a surprising Spanish flavor to it, coming mainly from the acoustic guitar, while the electric guitar swoops and soars through it. Fervescent starts off with a mix of tablas and psychedelic electronics before taking off into a heavy space rock adventure with lots of freaked out guitar in this one. Evanescent makes for a nice, space breezy, laidback end to the album.

I love the way Dave Skipper can really shred his guitar, yet manage to keep it melodic at the same time. He can be wailing away through a particularly mellow section of the piece, and it somehow remains... particularly mellow. But when he cuts loose, does he ever smoke. Essence is one fine album for guitar fans and space fans alike.

For more information you can visit the Dave Skipper web site at: http://www.skippymusic.co.uk.
Email at: dave@skippymusic.co.uk.
Contact via snail mail c/o Dave Skipper; 17 Kexby Avenue; York; YO10 3HF; England.

Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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