Album review: SAM COULSON – Electric Classical

SAM COULSON - Electric Classical

Self-release  [Release date 20.11.15]

This album is probably best described as “economical”.  From the single sheet inlay to the 25 minute playing time.  What is perhaps most surprising is that it is fashioned by young Sam Coulson who evidently feels the need to spread his wings after being parachuted into Asia after Steve Howe’s departure.

I can see this album being something of a fan favourite and asked for at the Asia merchandise stall.  Electric/rock fashioning of classical works is nothing new and before Sam was born the likes of Jan Akkerman (Aranjuez) was carving a similar niche, although in that example against a lush orchestral backdrop.  And of course John Williams put the boot on the other foot when he went electric with Sky in the late 1970s.

With just his own electro-acoustic accompaniment, Coulson’s skills are arguably more exposed.  Purists may be wondering why he didn’t pick a bunch of tunes that were less of a staple in the classical guitar repertoire, but so be it.   Whether we need another rendition of Ave Maria is debatable.  Coulson’s violin toning on ‘Recuerdos De La Alhambra’ recalls Akkerman who popularised the technique in the early-1970s.

In short, this is nothing new, decidedly and perhaps defiantly retro, but a brave and different offering nevertheless.  ***

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.


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