2009 / earthscape media
Review by Michael Debbage
It has been 10 years since Johannes Linstead released his impressive debut Sol Luna Tierra. Not including his download only piano album Dream Go By, or his recent collaboration with Nicholas Gunn on Encanto, Linstead has been at a most notable rate of creating and releasing an album approximately every 18 months. More impressive is that his material suffers no dilution with Linstead showing no signs of slowing down either his production line or his creative juices. That said, Mistico not only continues to support the above fact but actually only intensifies it, as it is by far Linstead's most appealing creation to date.
The album begins with a bang courtesy of “The Happy Song (Felicidad)” and the song is exactly that. It is optimistic and buoyant and shows a guitarist that is completely comfortable in his own musical skin. The party atmosphere is also prevalent on “Coconut Girl”, though this does not prevent Linstead from letting his fingers do the talking here, letting it rip on the guitar. Add in Yosvani Castaneda on violin along with a multitude of percussion embellishments, it is a song that will have your toe tapping in no time. Another fiesta is found on “1000 Veils” though in a more mystical setting. Linstead even shows his funky side on “Rico” that gets down and dirty musically, which includes Linstead on his old 1969 Les Paul Deluxe. In fact, it is the first time that he has recorded on electric guitar. Great move and it would be nice to see more of this side of this exceptional guitarist.
Once again, Linstead shows his many moods and presents his listeners with varying musical scenarios. Check out the languorous yet sultry “Night Dance” that includes the delicious vocalizations from Laura Fernandez. “Twilight” follows and continues the exotic factor. In fact, if you are looking for a soundtrack for your upcoming romantic interlude, then these two songs are a must as they ooze in sensuality. Equally as romantic, but showing a more tender side, there is the very fluid “All She Is (Ella Es)” which once again features the lovely Laura Fernandez.
Apparently 2009 was a year of challenges for Johannes Linstead, one being that he suffered a fractured hand that at one time threatened his career. However, Mistico is very clear evidence that his injury has affected neither his execution nor his ability to write gorgeous music. Despite his impressive run of recordings, Linstead has reset his own bar as Mistico represents his most consistent and impressive recording to date.
September 9, 2009
Review by Michael Debbage