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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Harvey Valdes - Point/Counterpoint (s/r, 2016) ****

By Paul Acquaro

Abstract, heavy-hitting, and certainly edgy, NYC based guitarist Harvey Valdes leads a power trio via his 7-string guitar, with assured assistance from violinist Sana Nagano, and drummer Joe Hertenstein. The music is dense at times, and often sounding very precise, yet still feeling naturally flowing as the trio bends the musical logic into melodic mazes. The album is a world apart from the lush solo work of Valdes' least release, Roundabout. In fact, it feels akin to the compositions of Tim Berne, with whom the album shares a cover artist (a striking cover by artist Steve Byram). 

Stacatto phrases from the violin twist around the angular guitar's melodies, running point and counterpoint with the tasty crunch. Valdes' potent mix of powerful playing is counterbalanced by the lithe work of the Nagano, which helps to keep the math-rock demons at bay.The solid brushwork of Hertenstein, keeps everyone in check.

Suffice to say, by the time you make it through the twists and turns of the album, you may not realize how you got there, but you’ll probably want to take the ride again.

... and I know that I've seen copies at the Downtown Music Gallery.