The bespectacled scientist casts an evil grin. No wait. That's no scientist. That's Ron Jarzombek, pictured on his latest slab of aural insanity, the no less insanely titled Solitarily Speaking of Theoretical Confinement.
Wearing a white lab coat and reading glasses, Dr. Ron flips through what's surely a textbook of musical madness. Lurking within is music taken to the -nth degree. Think Steve Vai pushed the envelope with Flex-able? If so, Jarzombek rips the envelope wide open with his newest creation. Think Flex-able on steroids, and you're still no closer to describing this disc than the I.R.S. is to abolishing the income tax.
Essentially a single composition spanning 45 tracks, Solitarily Speaking of Theoretical Confinement twists and turns through mind-numbing time changes, 32nd-note harmonies approaching 64th-note audacity, gravity-defining intervallic leaps and Jarzombek's secret (or not-so-secret) ingredient: humor.
That's right, shred fiends: humor. While most six-string phenoms scowl and rip arpeggios with clench-fisted self-importance, Jarzombek plugs in, casts a silly grin and unleashes his imagination. Inhabiting that fertile universe are cartoons - lots of 'em. Whether composing Spastic Ink material or penning these compositions, Jarzombek always looks to cartoons and film soundtracks for inspiration.
Close your eyes, and picture Bugs Bunny pitter-pattering through the snow while Jarzombek doubles - and even triples - playful passages that mimic unseen toons playing in his head. "Sex With Squeakie" exemplifies this approach Those unfamilar with Dr. Ron's six-string fusillades, pay heed. This man can play.
He also pens quirky liner notes. "Tri Tri Again," Jarzombek explains, is "all triplets, with triads alternating between the keys of A Major (3 sharps) and Eb Major (3 flats)."
Other gems include "Gee!," described simply as "a rather abrupt Gm chord"; "I'll Be Back," which "spells out 'BACK' using the chromatic alphabet"; and "In The Name of Ron," whose melody "spells out RON JARZOMBEK using the 'diatonic alphabet.'"
But don't let such theoretical complexity scare you. Diatonically or otherwise, these compositions spell one word: "FUN."