Satin Blue
(EverSound, 2002)

Satin Blue is the third album by talented musician, composer and writer Lino. It is a strong and confident, original and extremely ear-friendly collection of tunes that layers and blends classical, jazz and folk styles. To describe the album as "new age" could damage it by association with the glut of bland, tonal, antiseptic products huddling under that umbrella, yet it cannot be categorized as purely guitar, involving as it does a panoply of other stringed and wind instruments and percussion, which enrich the sound and raise the quality of this work still higher.

Lino does not provide lyrics, but instead the well-presented cover offers the listener a series of beautiful photographic images, chosen by Lino, each with an accompanying sentence by way of explanation. This is his own interpretation -- the music may take you on your own emotional or mental journeying.

The tracks vary, sometimes leaning more toward the passionate precision of classical, sometimes influenced by forceful rock, his guitar always confidently present. Some may relegate this to background music, but it certainly could not ever be ignored. Alternately and occasionally simultaneously relaxing and uplifting, this collection of skilled compositions embeds itself into one's conscious and should have a broad appeal across gender, age and habitual musical tastes. I have seldom taken so instantly to an album, especially one without vocals. This is a beautiful CD, both aurally and visually -- a well-crafted and original musical gift. Anyone who delights in instrumental music, is especially partial to guitar or enjoys discovering new talent should listen to Satin Blue. It is smooth as satin, calming as blue, but extraordinarily well defined, with intriguing nods and acknowledgments to a diversity of standard styles of playing.

Contributing to its unusual and exceptional qualities is the way in which Lino presents his musical experience; the almost medieval feel of "Yellow Creek" countering and complementing the modern "Dali's Hoppers," for example. In the melting pot of life, Lino has come up with an astonishingly palatable recipe for pleasurable listening beyond the commonly accepted boundaries. My sole complaint is that the 12 tracks pass too quickly; it's too short a journey and I long for more. Lino's website explains that this is a new direction for him, and I can only hope he continues on this path and provides a follow-up as spectacular as Satin Blue.

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 23 November 2002

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