Sean Marus is a 19-year-old who plays some mean guitar. He released a self-recorded album entitled Headspace that shows some impressive technical and creative skill for someone his age. According to Marus, “The album is inspired by two of the greatest guitar players of all time: Eddie Hazel and John Frusciante.” You definitely hear some of Frusciante especially from his earlier material like on To Record Only Water for Ten Days. There is no two ways around it; the production on this album is poor. The first thing you may notice is the difference in volume from song to song, which is something a proper mastering job would have helped. For instance “Void” is a good three dbs louder than “Atem.” In addition, and unfortunately, the sound quality on a couple of songs also takes away from the visceral impact of the song.
The EP is all-instrumental and revolves around guitar. It’s fun to listen to in the way a guitarist like Joe Satriani is fun to listen to. It’s ear candy that leaves you sometimes in awe of the technical ability of the person playing the instrument. There are a couple of moments of this EP where you can't help but be impressed by his chops.
The album opens with the hazy “Headspace” which is an atmospheric piece where he utilizes distortion and other effects to create a sense of psychedelica. It’s nothing more than an intro when compared to “Atem” which is the centerpiece of the album. The song is Marus and his guitar for six-plus minutes. He jams out a couple of blues riffs that bring to mind both Hendrix and Frusciante. The highlight of the song is the fills he does on his guitar.
“Void” layers a fuzzy lead guitar over decent bass work for seven-plus minutes. It is not a bad song but it goes on a bit long. He could have wrapped this up in about four minutes. Closing with “Rayne” Satriani showcases that he doesn't need distortion to have guitars sound impressive. Relying on little more than an amplification system the song has some of the prettiest guitar riffs on the album.
There are some solid ideas here, which never really come to fruition because of the poor production. The fact that these songs were recorded in only 20 hours shows that these songs were little more than ideas and hopefully will serve as a foundation for his future work.
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