On “Signature”, his eighth solo album, guitarist Eddie Mulder reveals himself as a true Stelvio Cipriani. Who, you ask? Well, you know, Stelvio Cipriani, the renowned Italian composer of film music. Not that there are many comparisons to be made between their compositions as Cipriani primarily wrote his music from behind his keyboard instruments. However we have here two driven creatives who effortlessly capture the imagination with their music. With a bit of imagination one can envision Mulder creating guitar arrangements of several Cipriani compositions. Of course that’s not the case; all the compositions on this album are Mulder’s own whether in collaboration with those around him or not.
It’s a joy to once again indulge in what the Frisian virtuoso of strings presents us. It’s a beautiful blend of acoustic and electric guitar showcased here with support from Gert van Engelenburg, Henk Stel and Rafal Paluszek on keyboards, Peter Stel on bass guitar and Albert Schoonbeek on drums. Additionally two prog luminaries, Colin Bass (Camel) and Ton Scherpenzeel (Kayak), are present giving you an indication of the level of musicianship. Mulder has gathered roughly the same group of people around him as on his previous album the brilliant “Blind Hunter.”
The album kicks off with the fiery title track Signature. The jazz-rock allure of this track brings us a lot of tempo and mood changes between electric guitar and synthesizer held together by the phenomenal bass playing of Colin Bass. It feels like an overture setting the stage for the actual album to begin.
With the subsequent tracks, Seahaven and Winter Solstice 2021, Mulder slows things down and gives the album a sense of emotional restart. Seahaven still features room for keyboards, drums and electric guitar while in Winter Solstice 2021 Mulder goes solo with his acoustic guitar. This is where Mulder’s skills shine. The atmosphere darkens a bit in the oriental-tinged Empty Woods. Mulder seems to be finding his element more and more. A track like Old Places has that Cipriani vibe, languid, ’70s, jazzy with the sound of a flute. A standout track. Late At Night ’22 features a contribution from Ton Scherpenzeel and in Summer’s End the keyboardist makes his presence known with piano and ethereal synthesizer. Mulder himself deserves credit for consistently knowing what is necessary to create his sonic landscapes. Moods is particularly strong with Mulder’s characteristic playing on the electric six-string beautifully framed by his Leap Day partner, Gert van Engelenburg, who gallops his fingers wonderfully across the keyboard. This segment of the album also includes several beautiful acoustic guitar-driven tracks each exquisitely colored: No Return, Enigma, and The Flow. With the closing track Balanced, Mulder once again captivates listeners with his emotionally resonant electric guitar. It’s a gift to possess such exquisite string handling something not everyone can claim.
There’s no doubt that Mulder must be incredibly proud of this album as his personal signature shines through it.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022