Matt Baldwin - Paths Of Ignition
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Matt Baldwin
Paths Of Ignition

One of three Bay Area musicians featured on the Berkeley Guitar compilation on Tompkins Square Records a couple years back, Matt Baldwin is a young artist who is creating epic tracks with solo guitar. Although most are familiar with James Blackshaw at this point, there are a slew of artists doing somewhat similar work, and Baldwin is one of them, although his instrumentation is just a bit different.

Built largely on a framework of acoustic guitar, Baldwin dips into psych-folk with his use of electric guitar and pedals (and occasional voice and sitar). Moving from deft finger work to more bluesy strums, his acoustic work is certainly fine, but it's the electric counterpart that really sets him apart from the masses. "Weissensee" is a perfect example of his unique sound, as he starts out with fairly typical and almost delicate acoustic/electric work before some woozy, fuzzy jams punch through and shoot the track into a weird space that at times sounds like two completely disparate sounds bumping up against one another and somehow working.

After the more typical "Jealous Woman," the cover of Judas Priest's "Winter" again changes things up, as more overdriven guitars and classic-rock style vocals bloom out of simple acoustic guitar work. And really, while Baldwin's work isn't born from the same over-the-top style as Priest, his electric guitar playing is definitely influenced by the era. In technical terms, the standout track is the closer "Rainbow," which spirals through what feels like about five different sections and includes some incredibly fast playing as styles veer from blues to rock. Like early work from some of his contemporaries, this debut from Matt Baldwin is definitely on the inconsistent side, but certainly shows promise in places with breakthrough moments.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2008-05-29 19:09:35