by Ferell Aubre
It should come as no surprise that some of the most viscerally exciting music should come from parts unknown – not just as far removed as Southern India and Azerbaijan, but more and more lately, from the even more remotely located Indonesia and Thailand. There is ample proof on the nine-track-long Regards to You II by a guitarist – from Thailand – the prodigiously talented Julphan Tilapornputt. The quality of his musicianship – both as a composer as well as an instrumentalist – is quite beyond category and in a word: flawless. To start with, Tilapornputt conveys a very strong and individual sense of tonal individuality. To say that this comes from imbibing the traditional music of his respective cultural surroundings would be telling only half the story. It may be a fact that Mr Tilapornputt’s compositions suggest a melting in the air of Thailand where Indian, Chinese, and even Persian musics collide, but in performance, suggestions of the esoteric soon dissipate and are replaced by a thoroughly modern sensibility.
Julphan Tilapornputt’s music, especially his instrumental voice has a distinct personality and this helps to underscore the music’s dramatic qualities, which are a mélange of western counterpoint suffused with the plaintive lyricism and strutting bravado of the music that the guitarist grew up with. Interpreting the proclivities of the form and function of each Mr Tilapornputt makes his trills into mischievous flourishes played on radiant strings as well as to the rich variety of articulation and dynamic gradation throughout this fine programme. The flawless performance continues from the opening bars of “Bricks,” through “Resurrection” and “Number One.” The guitarist is fond of using tenderness as a floating motif embedded within intangible harmonies like disappearing smoke. His counterpoint on “Galleria,” for example, is absolutely eternal and primeval. And it is fascinating how on “Number One,” the opening solo guitar appears to reflect the contrary motion of the instrument’s mechanism while still constituting ‘music’ strong and interesting enough to be rendered on the tenor saxophone, bass and superbly brushed drums that follow. Impressive, too, is the way that small details are given expressive import from the time the bass begins soloing until the time that Mr Tilapornputt’s guitar takes over once again.
The sheer gifted nature of the young guitarist’s playing, his ingenuity and beguiling sound-world of vocal-like phrasing that coaxes the saxophone, the bass and the drums to follow suit and his redistribution of the musical parts and roles of each musician are most ingenious to the point of being almost bold. The whimsy of his strummed lines, broken up by single notes and block chords ensures that the rhythm of his music is nicely etched into the languid melodies that dance across the music on this disc. Add to everything else Julphan Tilapornputt’s eloquence and passion and it all adds up to something truly rewarding for the connoisseur of guitar enthusiasts.