"Ron Jarzombek - Solitarily Speaking Of Theoretical Confinement"
Review by Armen Janjanian

Former (and current, as they are reformed now) WATCHTOWER and current SPASTIC INK guitarist Ron Jarzombek has released an album which is a one of a kind, unique experience.

To put it bluntly, it is one 45 minute song, split up into 45 different sections, and each of them has a musical theoretical restraint. SPASTIC INK does have a couple of tunes like this, where the band decides to confine itself ("See, And It's Sharp", where they only use C and C#; and "Eights Is Enough", where the main theme and melodies are all 8th notes), but it is not as ambitious nor as extreme as this. See, the above mentioned songs are two different songs built around a certain theme.

This is just one song. Using timing, note, theory constraints, Ron Jarzombek has succeeded, amazingly, to create an album that is seamless in its flow. You will not notice where each song begins and ends, because the whole has been created in such a way that where flow and song structure blend perfectly with all the little intricacies on the album. This transcends genres and, by putting all these confinements on himself, Ron Jarzombek has created an album that is truly an awe-inspiring and free-form release. This is the inner workings of a musical psychotic genius, who can truly shape and bend and mutate musical theory to his own whims. All of this is done when the listener is totally unaware of all the changes going on. It is one thing to write EXTREMELY technical music, it is another to write it yet make it so subtle that no one will notice the note-y riffs, the manic time signature changes and more insanity.

The element that truly gives Ron Jarzombek his eccentricity and uniqueness appears on this album, as shown in the song titles and in the music as well. Humor is what makes this man stand apart from other 'shredders', giving his compositions a little flair and some quirky melodic tendencies. The proof of his wild humor is shown in the track "Sex With Squeakie". Squeakie is a squirrel that first made its appearance on SPASTIC INK's "Ink Complete" album, on the track "Morning With Squeakie". In this episode, our young furry hero meets a little female squirrel, and they fall in love, and they, as described in the booklet, make squirrely love. The music on this song has a certain cartoon-y feel to it, and Ron has succeeded in telling a humorous story using nothing but music. I swear, you can almost see in your head the acts these two young squirrels are performing on each other (Ah, Armen and his sick fantasies involving animals). What's more surprising as to how well it fits between other bizarre sections, and you will hardly notice ANY forced transition between any of the songs.

This is a 45 minute journey through off-beats, scalar runs, chromatic riffing, basic music theory lessons, a technique that Ron and Doug (Keyser, WATCHTOWER bassist) call the chromatic alphabet, and two horny squirrels.

To put it simply, to think of writing an album like this one requires insanity. To be able to pull it off requires genius.

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