The Clarity of Hindsight by Seth Himmelhoch

Release date: September 15, 2023
Label: Self-Released

Another rainy evening. That’s the moment where you begin to clear your head and focus on what to do for the next hour. And that’s where your mind begins to relax as the music of Seth Himmelhoch comes into play. Guitar instructor by day, composer by night, Himmelhoch has brought the essence of jazz, pop, and experimental music in his resume. From Duo Cavatina to a director of guitar studies at the William Paterson University’s, he’s very much like Bruce Wayne and Batman in disguise when it comes to playing music.

That and The Clarity of Hindsight is a remarkable album that goes through the sounds of lounge music, late ‘60s garage attitude, flamenco, heavy metal, progressive music, Wes Montgomery slices, and nods to the maestro of The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page. His playing describes the sense of beautiful water-colored paintings that reflect upon the moments of time.

When you listen to ‘Fifth Sense’ with its clean minor-like arrangements that speaks of Steve Howe, and a bit of Stan Getz thrown into the mixture thanks to Jerry Weir’s vibraphones and Carol Shansky’s flute improv, he takes us into the heart of South America where the music begins to shake its groove thing.

‘Ritmo del Corazon’ turns into this intensive dance of the tango which speaks of these Frippertronics Seth would create on his guitar. It’s a battle of the gods from Flamenco to Crimson-like beats that hits you so well, you might want to dig out your old guitar you haven’t played for a long time and be back up and running.

 

‘Food Chain’ sees Himmelhoch and Zukor reaching the essence of Deep Purple, Terje Rypdal, and Hendrix’s wah-wah pedals during the Electric Ladyland sessions while ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ transforms into a brutal, metallic awakening. There are the doom textures, the Mahavishnu stretches, and arpeggiated sounds of a slowed-down version of Blackmore’s intense exercise.

‘Valse Bleu’ takes us back to 1959 at the time of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue years as if in a parallel universe, Wes Montgomery joined in on the sessions for his magnetic fret work to add some touches with ‘All Blues’ that Seth pays homage to a walk down to Central Park with Thelonious Monk in hot pursuit.

The three-part suite ‘Electric Counterpoint Species’ sees Himmelhoch returning to his experimental route by oozing in some of those flamenco birds to fly across the Brazilian islands and adding another blazing trance of McLaughlin and Gentle Giant’s Gary Green in a vicious tone before heading back into Robert Fripp’s cave during the Lizard years from King Crimson throughout the second half of the suite.

And then, all hell breaks loose. Those complex changes make it even better as he makes his guitar transform into a reverbing snarling beast, ready to prey on human flesh with insane synthesisers by transforming itself into a two-headed beast, returning back into Gentle Giant’s territory, Yngwie Malmsteen, and bits of ELP’s Trilogy years to the front with some crazy drum work by Zukor.

Everything comes to an end with a tribute to Zeppelin with ‘Homage to Jimmy Page’. This is where Seth tips his hat to the genius who broke the door down with not just his looks, but his playing that sparked a revolution. It’s not just metal, but alternative rock, doom, punk, and jazz. Seth channels Jimmy’s fret work during the ZOSO years which you can hear pieces of ‘Black Dog’ thrown into the mix to bring it all home.

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