Ioannis Anastassakis - _Orbital Attempt_
(Wild Rose Angel Productions, 2009)
by: Daniel Cairns (7.5 out of 10)
Before going into my review, I'm going to quote verbatim from this fella's lastfm profile...

"Born in the Greek island of Crete, Ioannis Anastassakis studied at the Greek National Conservatory and the Nakas Conservatory in Athens. He completed his Bachelor degree at the American College of Greece, and subsequently studied at the distinguished Musicians Institute, where he was hired as an instructor, after graduating at the top 1% of his class. He continued his graduate studies in Music, at the California State University, completing an MA in Guitar Performance, graduating Magna cum Laude."

Folks, we have a wanker on our hands. Actually that sounds a bit harsh. When I say wanker, I obviously mean in the fret fondling sense, and not in the sense that the guy is a tosser.

Yep, Ioannis -- to cut a long story short -- can play like a motherfucker, and he isn't afraid of letting everyone know. This record is stuffed to its musically proficient guts with lightning quick licks and fleet fingered riffs. Naturally I should loathe it, as I have a general aversion to similarly proficient people like Steve Vai and Yngmingming Melmedstreem. While they can undoubtedly play, they can't write a tune for shite. I'd much rather have someone like Buzz Osbourne or Jimmy Bower churning out slow evil stuff that sounds good, rather than flashy 'look Ma, no hands' nonsense.

Ioannis is different though, for some reason. He sometimes makes music that sounds like the soundtrack from the old N64 game "F Zero X". Everyone who has played that game knows it had the cheesiest, most excellent tunes ever. Obviously our fella here wasn't intent upon dredging up my memories, but he's unwittingly garnered himself a few points for reminding me of my distant youth, when all I had to worry about was "Sonic the Hedgehog", "Star Wars" and the folks finding "Anal Farmyard 2" under the bed. The guy is clearly out of touch with fashion, as it's the least cool music ever. And because of that, I find him very endearing.

Whilst it'll never truly be something I can love, I like _Orbital Attempt_ a lot. It flits from Spanish flamenco to laidback plucking to uber-speedy widdling, and still manages to sound focussed. In my learned, extremely important opinion, focus is necessary in a release like this, as there's nothing worse than a musician's musician taking a first class cruise up their anal passage, widdling out stupidly long solos for the sake of it. It's basically penis envy in musical form. Whilst there's certainly a bit of that here (look at some of his promo shots, for Christ's sake), Ioannis manages to temper his musical indulgences for the most part, resulting in a spacey, fun record.

Considering I was all set to hate this, I'm doubly impressed. Ioannis Anastassakis has done well, and made a record filled to the brim with excellent material. Check him out.

NB: He loses half a point because his myspace page caused my Internet browser to prolapse. The shit.


(article published 4/7/2009)

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