Richard Zeier: Phenomenation
Since the advent of Britpop the guitar has suffered a revival in the popular ear – not always to the best effect. Bands have abandoned the synthesiser and gone back to the guitar with a vengeance but very few guitarists have done anything much with the instrument except strum or thrash. It has not been the versatile instrument it was in the days before Punk. With a few exceptions notably His Squiggleship HRH The Prince of Symbology there has been very little innovation or exciting departures from a pretty uninspiring norm as far as the guitar is concerned. That is as far as the mainstream commercial market is concerned.
With the advent of MySpace it is possible to search out some marvellous stuff going on quietly behind the Scene. For example, I have already spoken several times about the exciting and original musicianship of Lou Rone [www.myspace.com/louronealone ]. Now I’ve been introduced to the sounds of Richard Zeier and extremely excited I am by them. He is a multi-instrumentalist and composer bringing us some seemingly highly orchestrated latino/rock/jazz/funk fusion in the style of, what shall we say?… Santana maybe. But that would be narrowing it down too far. Whatever, the whole symphonic sound has been created by Richard’s own fair hands. Not only is the guitar work to be wondered at, but all the other instrumental sounds are his alone – albeit some being created electronically in all likelihood. It’s a full frequency stereo surround-sound experience thingy – if you get my drift. Like Carlos Santana, Richard attributes a great deal of his inspiration to spiritual questing but don’t let that put you off – there’s none of that Windham Hill airy-fairy fluty-tooty aethereal coffee-table poppy-cock here – just good down-to-earth love of, by and with the guitar of which he is the master. OK, it’s fair to say that most of the material here is what you’d probably call ambient, possibly extending into incidental film music. It would be nice to hear what Richard can do when he applies a bit of attack. Maybe that will come on the next album.