Anil Shahi’s latest venture takes fusion in a new direction. The overall sound is clean with none of the overcrowding we often hear in fusion albums. What one would call ‘economy of sound’ has helped make this album a pleasure to listen to. Entitled “Guitar Lounge” the guitar is the lead instrument, naturally and much of the backing tracks are programmed.
After Anil’s guitar solo on the first track, Guru Dev takes over with his amazing vocals. His is pure classical vocal and he displays superb skills. The second track “Casino” is jazz but the backing track is a bit of a let down, sounding too synthetic to practiced ears, although the sax sounds quite genuine. Anil changes his style and plays a more jazzy melody here. In an effort to incorporate many genres, Anil then moves on to ‘trance’ which is very popular among young Nepalis. Here Anil plays neat little riffs which work very well with the steady flow of the rhythm section. What’s good about this album is that there are no overwhelming sounds and the solos are loud and clear. Riding on the same beat as the previous track, “Combination” is literally a combination of flute and guitar solos. However, the flute solos are too short to build up to any great height. There are also three flautists playing on the album and there is no way of knowing who plays which part.
In “Rhythm” we hear a strong bass line for the first time in the album, and there’s a reason, as we now enter the realm of ‘funk’. An electric guitar is also introduced. However, it is the flute solo that steals the limelight rather than the funky bits on guitar. “Blue Sky”, unlike the other tracks, is a trite messy, but with “River” the music returns to simple arrangements with flute sounds dominating the intro. Anil’s piece on this final track complements the piano arpeggio wonderfully. Although purists may frown upon the use of synthesized sounds in this album, Anil has it all quite well worked out and the music makes for good listening.