This is an introduction for me of hearing the sounds of both Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier. This is their second album released on the MGP record label that was co-founded by Nicolas himself and bassist Arran McSporran six years ago. Both Pete and Nicolas started working together with the release of Travels to the West back in 2012, which was their debut album recorded live.
Chasing Tales sees the duo in a more layered, relaxing and laid-back sound that fits the atmosphere. It’s a mixture of Jazz, Smooth, Classical, and Flamenco music that they have written on here of 11 compositions. And not to mention a traditional Turkish theme that closes the album also (Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim). With the two of them together, it’s a combination between Al Di Meola, Robert Fripp, Ottmar Liebert, Mason Williams, and Django Reinhardt all rolled up into one giant smoothie that is healthy and spot on.
Bluster is a walking rhythm beat between the chords and lead section in a bluesy touch that gives both of them a chance to loosen up and have a great time. It almost sounds like a Jazz standard, and it works very well to fit in the ensemble to that arrangement for all instruments alongside Guitars. The Bridge which shows Pete playing the synths as he gives it a cooling groove whilst Nicolas goes into the improvisations through the Glissentar.
The Glissentar is an 11-string fretless instrument and Meier himself shows a lot of wonders on his solos through the rhythm. He also plays it again on Riversides. On this track, it has a combination the sounds of Greece and Egyptian folk music featuring an ascending midsection that carries the essence of the sounds of middle-eastern melodies.
The title track fades in as the duo really get into the Latin groove for a dance to see the sun go up on the beach. Beautiful melodies in between, it shows some spirit and harmonious wonders while The Followers, the opening track, carries a mid-tempo rhythm as Pete starts with an Holdsworth and McLaughlin clean electric guitar solo and the Nicolas comes in with the nylon solo in a Steve Howe-esque adventure that you might want to take note of.
Chasing Tales is very well structured and an intriguing album this year. Pete and Nicolas have brought accomplishment here. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, it is my introduction to the duo’s work. With my fifth listen to the album, I’m very impressed of what they have done here to bring the elements together. A knockout for a beautiful exquisite sound.