November 16, 2012

Review: Jake Nielsen-Perspective

Solo artist and multi-talented Jake Nielsen has released a very entertaining compilation of his recorded works over the last ten years, fittingly titled Perspective.

Nielsen sights Dream Theater (the greatest band on this earth) and Billy Joel as major influences. And that synopsis is pretty much spot on throughout the 8 tracks on this recording.

The artist plays every instrument on Perspective or to put it mildly, what doesn’t he play? This is the kind of album that grows on you with each listen. Upon first listen I was not blown away however I never place those kinds of expectations upon anything I listen to. You have to understand I have been doing this over 14 years now and it takes a lot to impress me and I get bored very easily so it does have to grab me right out of the gate. By the time I got to the middle of the album my opinion started to change drastically, in a very good way. The first three tracks are good but not nearly the level that begins with track 4. 

“Autumn” is great composition in every way. The lyrics will touch your soul and the music is nothing but quality and each note is perfectly selected for each segment of the track. One of the best tracks no doubt but the fun was just beginning. “Let’s Live” is a classic prog rocker with all the trimmings including the driving yet tasteful keyboards and the powerhouse guitar lines. It is not the drop “D” tuning on the six strings that some heavy prog metal requires, although I found it to be very effective and powerful. This is the kind of the album that shows what a talented man Jake Nielsen is. He has seemingly endless potential from this point onward.

Not to let you get bored, he does a total paradigm shift offering up a religious/spiritual based tune titled ”How Can We Know.”  Don’t let that throw you off if you are not the religious type because this song may be mellow but it is very good with meaning and purpose.  "Prelude 1" features a  Dixie Dregs (Jordan Rudess was in the band prior to joining Dream Theater) like organ line that cuts in with fat power chords to back it up and push it further. The track keeps flowing from one extreme to another suggestion the roller coaster ride that life can be - very prog like indeed. I have to admit it reminded me of something the great Neal Morse would do. Any religious intonations or not, that is not a factor because this is a truly amazing work of art. In a little over 4 minutes Neilsen shows you the spectrum of his influences from classic rock like Deep Purple to modern day Dream Theater to 70s Billy Joel banging away at the keys. It is an awesome and spectacular display of musicianship. Similarly “Let’s Live” provides a lot of colors and textures that shape into a great presentation of Nielsen’s combination of striking talents. The last three tracks blend together forming a sort of trilogy of you will.

For being an older pickier listener sometimes music will force me to listen closer and give it the benefit of another listen. In this case I am so glad I did. If you like good music, whether it be rock, pop or prog you will find your way through the 8 tracks on this release. Perspective is highly recommended for the curious but demanding listener that likes to add a little more spice to their full course (musical) meals.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Autumn, Prelude I, Let's Live

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Founder

November 16, 2012

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