Escoto's & Simon's guitar work in Collage is a short exercise in beauty.
Collage features mainly three instruments: two acoustic guitars and the occasional violin. Together, the three instruments have amazing chemistry. Escoto's and Simon's guitar work, specifically, is so terrifically blended that it's sometimes hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.
The difficult thing about the album, for some people, is that it's instrumental. Apart from some sporadic humming in a couple of the songs, there are no lyrics at all. It detracts nothing from the album. In fact, I think it would be worse off with words muddying how perfectly Collage captures certain essences of the world, but I understand that many people are turned off by the prospect of non-lyrical tunes.
Collage can be very joyful but it can also be very dark (nostalgic, even). Songs like “Collage” and “Carnival of Joy” are definitely smiling songs. It's hard to hear them and not be in a better mood and, if I had to guess, Escoto & Simon would be very pleased about that. It's easy to become lost in the variety of their cheer when, suddenly, a song like “Landscape” or “Rainforest II” will play. The differences are so huge that it's almost jarring. An emotional range like that, especially for an instrumental album, is very impressive and should be commended.
Despite some minor problems (the humming can get annoying sometimes and the album is very short), Collage might very well be one of the best contemporary world guitar albums of the decade.
Key Tracks: Carnival of Joy, Landscape, Collage
Keith Carberry- MuzikReviews.com Contributor
May 19, 2011