Review: Adam De Lucia, “Hypnotist”

Adam De Lucia, “Hypnotist”

24 Jan, 2013 Matthew Forss

New Jersey-native, Adam De Lucia, releases Hypnotist, a new instrumental album with several songs that combine the worlds of jazz with the modernism of electronic programming.  The result traverses a fine boundary between new age and improvisational with equal amounts of jazz fusion without confusion.

“96 Heart Beats Per Minute” opens with a jazzy drum beat that is spacious and lounge-friendly throughout.  The drum beat is joined with a laser-like horn line and crystalline guitar sound with reverberating synth sounds that add a layered effect.  A fluid, almost chime or bell-like tone adds a little variety mid-song.  However, the laid-back jazzy track contains a little guitar work that is vibrant, but reserved enough to still call it pure jazz.  The drum-work as a whole is not particularly varied and innovative, but the rest of the instrumentation brings to life the jazz ambiance probably intended.

“The Dream” begins with a vibrant bass rhythm and various electronic horn sounds with a lively percussion set that is upbeat and classic experimental contemporary jazz.  A little throbbing laser-like electronic sounds morph the song into a sort of spacey new age anthem with symphonic, almost rock instrumental qualities without the typical rock angst.  The latter half of the song includes a light, rumbling guitar tune that ends with a carnival-esque sound seemingly borrowed from a group like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  However, the song is still uniquely Adam De Lucia all the way.

“Cycle Plus One” opens with a bit of spacious keyboard washes and cymbals with a few drum beats.  There are pizzicato-type sound effects and sparkling synth sounds that almost resemble a bit of new age transcendence.  The new age effects are quickly changed to a sort of jazzy, lounge track with scintillating and rippling guitar work.  The keyboard washes are utilized throughout, while a little piano work adds a lead in to the jazzy bass, horn-like sounds, and snare drum-type sounds.  The fluid bass sounds are iconic and memorable during the latter half of the song.  There is a bit of everything in this song, which ends as cinematic as it begins.

“The Far Groove” opens with a brisk bass display with a few rumbling guitar strokes that combine with a swishy percussion set that follows a funky groove.  The pounding bass drum and relatively steady melody is not joined by too many different sounds or instruments, though a carnival-esque line appears around mid-song with bubbly, child-like brilliance.  There is a laser-like rock guitar-type melody that appears with the song’s steady back-beat.  The song ends with a brisk bass display.

“Caution (Rise of the Tyrant)” begins with a lively, acoustic percussion medley with a jazzy, light guitar intro and classic, fluid keyboard work with symphonic washes and string sounds.  The percussion is a bit overt, as it drowns out some of the other sounds at times.  Though, the rock guitar-like solo on keyboard is a highlight.  The mishmash of sonic sounds creates a bit of an experimental jazz setup, especially as the keyboard sounds match the dizzying bass work.

Adam De Lucia’s new album contains many jazz elements wrapped into an electronic package of MIDI delight and instrumental brilliance.  The instrumental songs are upbeat, laid-back, and never dull.  The combination of jazz guitar, rock guitar-like sounds, electronic effects, and great bass work provides a worthwhile effort.  The percussion is varied, but a little shallow in places, as well as too strong in other places.  The percussion provides a nice balance between the songs, but the electronic nature of the music created a little disjuncture.  Nevertheless, Hypnotist is a good recording for fans of contemporary jazz, experimental or improvisational jazz, and fusion.

Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)