In the past few years fusion music has slowly witnessed a new genre gradually work its way into the melting pot. Many young guitarists are obviously raised along side the classic roots of fusion music, while also exposed to and influenced by heavier metal and the shred guitar of late 80’s. While icons of this new era like Tosin Abasi or Ben Weinman have embraced the heavier of these influences, groups like The Aristocrats or Canadian guitarist Jason Sadites continue to push fusion music, incorporating these heavier inspirations into their compositions and playing.
Sadite’s latest release Tales marks his fifth studio album with the support of Marco Minnemann on drums and Ric Fierabracci on bass. Sadites leaves no question of his influences as a musician; wearing the inspiration of Mahavishnu Orchestra, King Crimson, and metal heavily on his sleeve. Opening with Red Herring, Sadites makes it clear from the beginning that he has strong control over the tension and release of his compositions, with a clear destination. The use of tension and dissonance keeps the listener on edge and interested. He holds great mastery in mixed meter, and his command of space and atmosphere unify the entire album.
The first half of the record can be viewed as a single piece of music, fading from one song into the next. Sadites uses rest to allow his compositions and arrangements to develop, demonstrating a true understanding of melody and harmony. Once he has established layers and loops, which build upon each other, he keeps the shredding tasteful. He successfully avoids the stereotypical bumblebee guitar many of his counterparts fall guilty. There is something to be said about the interplay between the trio as a whole. Locking into tight grooves, all members are very invested and conscious to what is occurring musically around them. This is exactly the project you’d expect an Aristocrat member to work on.
While the album is heavy, the record blends blues, funk, and metal, among many other styles (the true definition of fusion) to show an eclectic range of skill and tastes. The album is not full of heavy riffs, and ends with Repercussion, a beautiful acoustic tune. The track serves as a great, relaxing contrast in tone and style, while still retaining the musicianship and intricate, complexity in form Sadites has established throughout the rest of the album. Sadie’s Tales is a great example for where a new wave of fusion musicians may possibly steer the genre, incorporating new genres, while maintaining remarkable skill and prowess on their instruments.