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Pastellic Reflections by Joe Battaglia/Terrence McManus

In order to be considered a dynamic instrumental guitarist, you need to be willing to take your music to the next level; a level that many attempt to attain, yet fall short time and time again. With an impressive educational background beginning at the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts and then college studies taking him to William Paterson University, Terrence McManus has learned what it takes to step your musical playing up and become a fine instrumental guitarist.

In an era that is dominated more by vocals, it is refreshing to listen to an album that lyrically can invoke appreciation not by vocals, but by simply the sounds of guitar. In his debut album, Pastellic Reflections, McManus along with fellow guitarist Joe Battaglia have created an album that is both musically impressive and well worthy of a listen. A soft guitar sound is found throughout the album and each track creates a different emotional response and musical appreciation for the work of McManus and Battaglia. The album starts off with the lead track, "Dream Chain". This track starts off with a very soft and subtle sound of the guitar bringing you into what will follow on the other tracks of the album. The piece focuses on smooth and creative variations of sounds. About midway, a bit more up-tempo sound is heard along with a few dissonant sounds that grab your attention and reel you back in. "White Blood Cells" is probably the best composition on the album. A quicker and more polished sound is heard here and the song's range is simply amazing. At one moment, you can hear a slow and methodic walking beat to the music and without a moment's notice you are then in the middle of a quicker and stronger tone.

This is probably the most interesting mix of sounds heard on this piece, and this track stands apart from some of the others on this album. A truly captivating track for sure, "Industrial Evolution" is different, but is quite interesting nonetheless. When you first hear the music, you are automatically going to think that you need to hear it again. Sounds from the guitar almost invoke a factory feel at times: you can hear tapping, banging, maybe even the sounds of some machines at work. The music perhaps might invoke the imagery of the Industrial Revolution, McManus has perfected an instrumental track on "Industrial Evolution" that tells a story without any words being needed. This album will turn McManus from simply just another instrumental guitarist into one of the better ones around. Pastellic Reflections is an amazingly strong instrumental album that McManus is sure to gain much respect for. With quality instrumental sounds created throughout the entire album, McManus is sure to gain many listeners that both would find this music naturally appealing, but more importantly, will draw many new listeners to the instrumental genre.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joe Battaglia/Terrence McManus
  • CD Title: Pastellic Reflections
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Flattened Planet
  • Musicians: Joe Battaglia (acoustic guitar), Terrence McManus (classical guitar)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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