Here’s an exciting album by a guitarist you may not be familiar with. Stephen Duros paid his dues teaming with Ottmar Liebert for a number of years, and has lately been putting out flamenco-style albums of his own. This latest one is a XII-part tour de force, almost an entire concept album of its own that takes you on a panoramic journey through various lands and epochs.
Duros himself alternates between electric , bass and flamenco guitars and even throws in the Middle Eastern oud for good measure while adding keyboards, percussion, palmas and drum programming for the exotic grooves. Liebert cameos with his electric guitar on the Central Asian themed “XI”, while various percussions and drum fragrances are contributed by Andrew Reissiger, Louis Romanos, Gary Moser and Jeff Pierre throughout the album
The album itself comes across like a panoramic journey, not unlike a grandious movie featured in Cinemascope. Grand and sweeping orchestrations and choir voices mix with celestial strums and Iberian passions on the ten minute opening journey, leading into tender and delicate images of the Saharan desert at twilight with pastoral reeds and classical strings on the concise “II.” Mixtures of moods and segueing musical scenes come in and out like a biblical saga with oceanic waves flowing and receding on the Andalusian folk “VI” and you can feel the horses charge forward in battle on the foreboding “VII” while the camels heads bob in unison along the shifting sands with the caravan of “X.”
Duros himself is a master of moods, timing and space, as he can create a solumn theme that bookends the album, or jump in and coast over frantic Afro Cuban congas on “VII.” This guy knows how to take you there and back. Part classical, part world music, part traditional folk, this album has Duros using his strings and sticks like a world-wise tour guide.