‘Dave Hulatt’ is the former guitarist and composer with UK band ‘The Dream Circuit’ and who is now embarking on a solo adventure with a project he has lovingly put together entitled ‘Road Trip.’ Whether this solo excursion is due to recent lockdowns imposed by Covid 19 and whether a ‘Dream Circuit’ reunion is on the cards is not clear.
‘Road Trip’ however, is not his first solo excursion. In his younger days ‘Dave’ gained a real interest in ‘Sound and music technology and related computer-generated music. Subsequently, based on his experimental meanderings he composed and recorded a Solo Album called ‘Mind’s Eye’. This was executed utilising a single keyboard, a Yamaha SY22 and an Amiga computer. He used midi sequencing to create the whole album, upon which, he added layers of acoustic guitar improvisations. As time passed by, the desire to know more about music theory became a definite goal for him. And so holding up the ‘Mind’s Eye’ album as an example of his technical capabilities he applied to ‘Dartington College of Arts’ to enrol on a ‘B.A. (Hons) in Music’ course. He was accepted and subsequently passed with flying colours.
And so now listening to his solo album ‘Road Trip,’ the album on review here, even on first play one can conclude that it is an extremely engaging album. A project engrained with multitudes of nice hooks and clever harmonies.
The liner notes describe ‘Road Trip’ as a ‘Psychedelic Trip’, a story about life, the music the universe and everything! If any criticism can be levied it would be that such a bold statement doesn’t quite gel. This is because it is difficult to link any conceptual connections. Maybe with more effort and intense dissection of the lyrics a finite storyline could be revealed. But, what the heck? It is the quality of the music that counts and in that respect, the entire 54 mins is packed with bright ideas and tuneful melodies.
In fact, the value of the music is well and truly contained within the nine separate and outwardly individual tracks. It would be also true to say that predominance lies within the multitudes of lead guitar breaks. Absolutely; the extensive range of lead guitar modulations and note patterns is quite fascinating creating an array of delightful tunes. In fact, the whole affair is literally a veritable A to Z of how to play lead guitar with an overabundance of different styles and riff patterns. The composite layers of music sandwich together, a kind of ‘Mile Oldfdield’ methodology, a gradual build-up of musical layers with keyboards, percussive patterns and psychedelic elements combined with vocal interventions. The melodic bass lines are quite fascinating to separate out and follow through in their entirety, whilst the drumming does a good job and is sufficiently proficient to carry the music through its course without sounding cumbersome or out of place. The numerous keyboard contributions whilst colouring the flavour of the music does not present a lead face to the proceedings but are important in filling out the spaces and maintaining the continuity and flow of the composition.
The softly projected vocals are indeed pleasant and very passable. They are sufficient to do a good job, fitting into the music well, but could not be described as memorable.
Summary: An enjoyable album to listen to with plenty of lead guitar variation and interesting ideas coming to the fore.
Dave Hulatt (solo with backing tracks.
All instruments played by Dave )
Guitars: PRS CE 22,patrick eggle Berlin Pro and home built ash telecaster.
Amps: Current main stage setup : Bogner Alchemist with Tung sol pre amp valves in main sections and jj 6l6 power valves. Mesa boogie lone star classic and peavey classic valve amps.
Effects: Custom floor effects with Biyang power supply running Boss wah pedal, compressor,chorus, phaser, TC delay unit,and custom loop selector.
Road Trip is Dave Hulatt who, as a solo performer, is on an exciting adventure creating an authentic and unique sound of self-penned psychedelic progressive melodic rock.
From the Web: Dave has performed at gigs and festivals throughout the UK for several years playing his original music which he combines with being a professional sound engineer both on the road and in the studio.
Dave previously played lead guitar and writer for the Dream Circuit, a who were successful band and featured in PROG magazine (March 2013 issue no 34). More information on Dream Circuit can be found at www.thedreamcircuit.co.uk
He has also jammed with artists like Tim Blake and Hugh Lloyd Langton from Hawkwind, and this year played at HRH Prog.
The following is a link to the Road Trip Facebook Page www.facebook.com/roadtrip6