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Paul Hardcastle –VIII

Posted by April Galenzoski on 2018/11/05

If there is a certain notoriety about Paul Harcastle’s vast collection of solo work, or that of his side project, Jazzmasters, it’s that each superb offering over the decades contains simplistic, numerical, and chronological titles, as witnessed with his latest release. But it’s also another example that Paul focuses his creativity and genius where it matters most; in the studio.

VIII (or if you prefer, ‘8’) is another volume in Hardcastle’s brilliant career, like the musical continuation of a serial novel that you can’t resist reading, or wonder when the next instalment will be available. The UK multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer delivers another impactful and engaging project with his trademark electronica-jazz style that varies from up-tempo and soul influenced, to cool and moody chill vibes. Amber Skies, the massively popular debut single from VIII combines the perfect blend of piano, synth and sax for an intoxicating and unwavering melody. Happy Go Lucky, which would appear to be the perfect follow-up single from VII, is Hardcastle’s flowing guitar licks and ethereal synthesizer with cool sax hooks over a light and somewhat funky melody. Hardcastle Boogie is by far the most up-tempo song on VIII, and reminiscent of his 1984  techno masterpiece Rainforest in both in style and melody. Hardcastle doesn’t forego his beloved ‘chill lounge’ vibe that he is synonymous for, as evident on Turn Down The Heat and Astral Vision, as both allow the mind and soul to wander through musical tranquillity.

One track that will strike a very familiar chord with listeners is a spectacular version of America’s A Horse With No Name, with the sultry vocals of Paul’s gifted daughter Maxine over top of smooth acoustic guitar, piano, and finger snapping accents. Also included as bonus tracks are Cut Loose, and Echoes Rising, both of which are taken from his recent multi-disc anthology The History Of Paul Hardcastle 1984-2016.

This latest from Paul Hardcastle is a continuation of his legacy as a diverse and multi-dimensional talent and veteran, who explores the outer boundaries of modern contemporary jazz. And like his previous musical chapters, VIII will leave listeners impatiently awaiting what the next instalment will bring.

Reviewed by Stu Berketo
On-air Host 94.7FM HD2 & 95.9FM HD2


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