Joe Becker

Hot As Love

Written by: PP on 17/12/2009 19:54:46

Joe Becker. A legendary guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Has recorded with people like Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman and many others. Lots of really famous people seem to know him (his website is full of quotes from members of legendary bands like Yngwie Malmsteen and Guns N Roses), but how come nobody else seems to have ever heard of him? His page shows just 237 plays in total. His Myspace profile has just over 31,000 views, which is a number in 2009 that every band that has played more than 10 shows is capable of reaching. How come there's so little info on him on the web that isn't written by Mr. Becker himself (including his OWN Wikipedia page, which has been tagged with a "neutrality dispute" and a "conflict of interest")? I'm just not buying the legendary thing, it smells like a scam. But investigating that in more detail is outside the scope of this review, and actually kind of irrelevant as well because his new album "Hot As Love" at least shows that Joe Becker is a solid guitar player, legendary or not, and he has skills with other instruments as well (bass, piano, strings etc).

Now, the most important factor in instrumental classic rock / solo guitar albums is to convey a feeling with the guitar and construct your own signature sound. Does Joe Becker manage this on "Hot As Love"? Well, you can easily deduct that he's feeling rather orgasmic while playing the guitar, and not playing songs like most people in a band do. This is especially evident in his technique during "Who Do You Think You Are?", but also elsewhere on the album where you think more about Ultimate Guitar than you do of Rock Sound or Kerrang. People who like playing guitar for the sake of playing guitar are also the people who are most likely to find this record enjoyable, because as with the likes of Satriani and Clapton, there's a chance (although not as high of course, given Becker's low-profile) that it will give them inspiration and lots of new techniques to learn and experiment with.

Some tracks simply feature Joe jamming away on his guitar for a couple of minutes, while others are supported by subtle classical piano on the background, and there's even a harmonica-only track on the record ("Grape Jelly"). There's even a dinner-music themed track on the record ("Don't Look Back"). A few of the solos are fairly decent, but frankly, the production is so crappy that many important guitar passages are left unclear and foggy to the listener. Add to the fact that I'm not a guitarist, so I'm not able to appreciate the various techniques and experimentalist approaches to playing the instrument as much as I'd like to, so this release doesn't offer much to me in the long run.


Download: Who Do You Think You Are?
For the fans of: Solo guitarists, playing guitar
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.10.2009

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