REDSHIFT - GUITAR ROCK with jazz fusion yearnings -- "Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"    
HOME PAGE, prog rock, jazz fusion, jazz rock, jazz, pysch/trance, space, electronic, ambient, essentially eclectic excellence HOME PAGE


Redshift: Big Sky (CD, 53:51) Redshift 2000

You know the feeling you get when you've heard a song that you USED to like
for the 500th time, and you finally realize that you never want to hear it
again?  I like to call this the "Stairway to Heaven Syndrome". it's not that
the song in question is a bad song per se, it's just that there's only so
many times you can get excited over the same ol' riffs.  You just can't get
fired up about a song that you're totally burnt out on.

Where am I going with this?  Well, the discussion actually leads into this
review of rock/fusion trio Redshift's latest self-produced release, Big
Sky, an album filled with impressive guitar chops, but ultimately
brought down by the same "Stairway to Heaven syndrome." By the time you've
reached the end of the CD, apathy is bound to have set in because most of
the songs on the CD sort of blend into one another without many distinctive
features.  It's not that the band members are poor instrumentalists by any
means, it's just that they weren't adventurous enough on Big Sky to
fill a full-length CD with music that held my attention for more than two or
three tracks.

Redshift is a Chicago-based band made up of guitarist Gary Skopick, bassist
Jon Maru, and drummer Steve Blank.  Skopick is probably the most impressive
of the bunch - he's capable of some wickedly fast soloing when he takes
center stage, and since Skopick is the featured musician on most of Big
Sky, you'll hear a lot of him.  Maru's bass playing is adequate - he
pulls off some nice work on the track "Spacetrane" and generally has a good
feel for how to play off of guitarist Skopick's leads.  These guys have been
teamed together for over 10 years, and it definitely shows in the musical
interaction with one another. The newcomer to Redshift is Steve Blank, who
takes on drumming duties using a Roland v-Drum kit rather than traditional
acoustic drums.  Blank also produced the CD, and did a pretty darn good job
at getting the right levels and making Redshift sound like a professional

The problem with Big Sky lies with its lack of variation. For
example, Skopick uses pretty much the same guitar sound for ALL of his solos
on the album; sure, there's the occasional wah-wah pedal, but for the most
part once you've heard one of the solos on the CD, you've heard them all.
Also, Steve Blank doesn't seem to make good use out of the versatile v-Drum
technology - the drums actually sound like an acoustic kit, which makes me
curious as to why Redshift bothered with v-Drums at all, (I guess it could've
been physical space limitations.). Redshift does manage to include some
decent tracks in the opener "Supernova" and the improv-like "Star Spangled
Sunrise," but other than those two tracks there's unfortunately nothing
terribly memorable about Big Sky.

I think the main fault with Big Sky isn't so much playing or
composition - Skopick, Maru, and Blank seem completely capable of writing
and performing at a high level.  What brings this album down is it's overall
sameness - all the songs sound pretty much alike. If Redshift would
perhaps get a little more sonically adventurous on future releases through
the use of different guitar and bass sounds and better v-Drum programming, I
feel they could improve immensely over this effort.  However, I'd suggest
that fusion fans take a pass on this release - or at least download a sample
from their website before purchasing Big Sky

- Michael Askounes (

Gary Skopick: Guitars
Jon Maru: Bass
Steve Blank: Drums

1. Supernova (3:54)
2. The Dragon (4:34)
3. Runaway Train (3:41)
4. Big Sky (4:36)
5. Spacetrane (4:49)
6. Distant Thunder (3:36)
7. Peyote (5:01)
8. Blue Bag (5:09)
9. Yellow Jacket (6:28)
10. Speed (3:54)
11. Star Spangled Sunrise (3:47)
12. Sugar Rush (4:00)




To purchase this recording and get more info, soundclips, etc.


OR . . .

Please visit my BUY IT E.E.R. NOW INDEX PAGE
Please try my brand spankin' new

buyer's guide to recommended music.

OR ...
go to my LINKS page and find the vendors' section.
Happy hunting!

Observe how the word
wheel reverses direction
if you try and read words. HOME PAGE