January 1, 2004

Lawrence Juber
Guitar Noir
There’s a whole kit and caboodle of hype about the “tribrid” (audio/video/ROM), 24-bit/96kHz master-source audio on Guitar Noir. And, you know, as a studio rat myself, I totally cheese the pristine and sparkling sound quality of this release. As a guitarist, however, I could give a toss. In fact, I’d much rather bitch about the less-than-innovative or organic surround mix, where the percussion is mostly in the center speaker and the rear speakers offer a rather wan “ambient” perspective.

But sound alone is not why you’re gonna love this disc. In fact, there are tons of other reasons to go ga-ga. First off, Juber’s performances in this trio setting are stunning. He’s an extremely nuanced player, and the moods he can pull out of a single Martin acoustic are pretty astounding. If you want to be schooled on how to bring music to life, check him out. Which brings us to another reason to snatch this DVD: a Juber master class. A nurturing approach and multiple camera angles ensure that you’ll cop a bit of Juber’s magic as he deconstructs one of his solo-acoustic songs. You can also print out tab by running the disc in a DVD-ROM-equipped computer. Want more? How about Juber detailing the history of the acoustic guitar, and then revealing exactly why he chose his particular Martin as the voice of his creative endeavors? And there’s also a photo gallery, rehearsal footage, interviews, bios, liner notes, and even a handy 5.1-audio setup that you can use to tweak your system. In short, Guitar Noir is chock full of stuff you can use to soothe your soul, upgrade your chops, and increase your guitar smarts. And, okay, all of you audio and home-theater geeks will totally bliss out over the high-resolution master tracks! AIX.

—Michael Molenda  

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