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A lack of imagination

Alex de Grassi: A Windham Hill Retrospective
Alex de Grassi: A Windham Hill Retrospective
By Alex de Grassi

Windham Hill Records: 1992

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This review first appeared in the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

If New Age music is your thing, you already know about Alex de Grassi (along with all the other Windham Hill artists). If, however, you are unfamiliar with New Age, this collection might not be the place to start.

De Grassi, who plays solo acoustic guitar on all his albums, is not one of the more imaginative New Age artists; but, to be fair, he is far from the worst. His music tends toward the repetitive, but he also introduces dissonance and minor keys, which many practitioners of New Age won't go near.

This collections spans his entire recording career – including material from Windham Hill's live album of various artists ("Clockwork," from the live album, is the only song featuring de Grassi in a group) – which has shown remarkable progress as the self-taught de Grassi learns on the job. "Mirage," taken from his most recent (fifth) album, "Deep at Night," is far more expressive and complex than anything from his "Turning: Turning Back" debut album.