Unassigned Territories

David Pritchard

Zebra Acoustic Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I have always been a sucker for good guitar work. Whether it was the "technical sloppiness" of Jimmy Page or Jerry Garcia, or the acoustic show of force from Doug Smith, if the guitarist could make their instrument really sing, I was hooked.

So it's not surprising that I was so interested in listening to Unassigned Territory, the latest release from guitarist David Pritchard. Not only is this disc filled with incredibly written and played melodies, it is one of the best guitar albums I've ever heard.

The first thing that wows the listener to Pritchard's playing and style is listening to tracks like "Driven" and the title cut, and later finding out that Pritchard performed all the guitar parts himself. Even though I am certain this is achieved through the miracle of multi-tracking, it still is amazing to hear how the guitar parts interweave, creating a structure that is beautiful, but complicated enough to leave you in awe.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The second thing that strikes the listener about Unassigned Territory is the group of guitarists that Pritchard assembled for this album. Granted, I couldn't pick out Pritchard, Joseph Jewell, Dale Turner or Jack Majdecki's individual performances if my life depended on it. But what these guitarists do is combine their playing and styles so that, if you weren't in the know, it could have all been performed by one guitarist using multi-tracking.

The third "wow" that is in store is the sparing use of vocals, provided by Teri De Sario. If you're thinking that name sounds familiar and you ever owned a leisure suit, then yes, it's that Teri De Sario of disco music fame. Now, I know what you're thinkin'... and it was the same thing I thought too, going into this album for the first time. Put aside your "disco sucks" prejudices, 'cause what De Sario adds to this album is not what you might be expecting.

De Sario's vocals add another texture into the music, especially noted on the track "The Language Instinct". Her vocals tend to float above the music, and occasionally swim in the melodies coming from four wood-and-metal-string boxes. You would not think that music so enchantingly could be created so basically... but is can, and it has been.

There are rare moments in some songs where the paths that Pritchard and the other guitarists take seem to be a tad difficult, but these moments soon pass. But for these tiny cracks in the surface, Unassigned Territory is a damn near perfect album, combining the worlds of light jazz, new age, and even a touch of classical, into a sound that is so unique that it begs to be heard.

Indulge yourself, and take a walk into Unassigned Territory. Chances are you won't want to leave.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Zebra Acoustic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.