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Marc Antoine: Universal Language

Marc Antoine continues to set the pace for a generation of worldly guitarists with Universal Language (GRP VERCD 74; 56:10). Antoine finds a musical soul mate in Phillipe Saisse, who brings out the varied colors of Antoine’s palette via crisp, sparkling production and arrangements in constant motion. As on past efforts, the guitarist’s compositions mix styles and textures into seamless mini-journeys-from the European traditional dance flavor melting into a drag groove on “Celta,” to “El Camino,” with a stomping, Spanish-roots feel complimented by electronic effects and a touch of mid-eastern sitar. Antoine, whose glistening, lyrical nylon play is at the center of each melody, gently twists even the more apparently straightforward tunes. “Valerio,” for example, takes a minimalist, romantic melody and adds big beat percussion to make it a true journey of the heart. “N.Y. Strolling” paints an equally vivid picture, with a dreamy, surreal effects cloud dissolving into the earthier tones of Antoine’s wistful play.

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