CD REVIEW: Burkhard Mahler - Fusion White Classics
By: Zack Kiley
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Strenghts: Guitar work, layering and fusion
Weakness: CD packaging, briefly over-complex sounds
Based in Germany, Burkhard Mahler releases his album “Fusion White Classics”, a 74 minute jazz/fusion CD that combines analog and electronic sounds in a fluid, easy flowing manner. In the past 10 years, Mahler has released a total of 18 albums to date, all in the same fusion/jazz/ambient style.
In a traditional jazz style, Burkhard Mahler’s music is complex and evolving. With intricate, driving beats in songs like “Saxophone Beat” and “Wild Strings”, the complexity starts to really stand out. What Mahler does impressively well is deliver layered, evolving electronic textures over a wide range of analog instruments. In “Orchestre de Saint Jean”, you can hear a complete orchestra of instruments, but none of them are playing in a traditional style. Fusion is most definitely the word to sum up the album, at its core. “Morrisons Belle” has Mahler implementing vocals over his traditional sound to an effective end. I have heard many jazz musicians rely on their one signature sound that they feel that they can create a track with just that sound. What Mahler does here is taking what would be a signature sound and layer it, and layer it, and layer it until it all blends together in a beautiful, warm and inviting harmony.
On the other side of the coin though, sometimes the intricacies of his complexity stand in the way of a smooth vibe. In the song “Spanish Electro”, the pace and rhythm of the drums drive a more salsa feel, but the classical Spanish guitar style of playing set a much slower pace. The electronic backing is present but also flows with the same salsa style and not the guitar playing. On a warmer, slower paced background, it could have been a moving, introspective piece nothing short of greatness. Although there are other times where the layers and sounds may clash, it is usually always brief and did not hurt the songs in any way. Another thing was that I really wanted to see a front cover on this album and not just a business card. For once, I was intrigued at the prospect of what type of art could reflect this kind of music.
In closing, Burkhard Mahler’s “Fusion White Classics” is an example how music can be a complicated thing. The layering, evolving textures underneath traditional jazz style instrument playing create soundscapes that paint a unique and, at times, wonderful picture of harmony and melody. I am inspired to listen to the 17 other albums by Mahler and look forward to them and future albums with welcomed anticipation.
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