Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Listen: Kip Winger, Ghosts, Suite No. 1

I had no idea what to expect from this. Kip Winger is not the first rock musician to try his hand at an orchestral suite, but he's one of the most surprising. You'll remember Kip from his days fronting the band that shares his last name, writhing around in leather pants to hits like "Seventeen" and "Easy Come Easy Go." Winger's solo material has been much more interesting and complex, particularly his latest, From the Moon to the Sun. He gave us a preview of Ghosts on that record, arranged for string quartet, harp and piano, but it's little preparation for the full thing.

Suite No. 1 is only 20 minutes long, but it's fantastic. There are passages here that take my breath away. This is a fully composed instrumental piece, fit for a film score, and there's no hint here of Winger's pop-metal past. It is his bid for respectability, and to my mind, he's achieved it. My favorite section is the third and last, "Adagio." As it builds up over seven minutes, the melodies just get lovelier, and by the end, my heart has swelled.

I'm not sure whether Winger's fans will follow him down this particular rabbit hole, but if you like gorgeous orchestral music, I'd recommend hearing this. It's wonderful stuff. Go here.

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