“The New Sound” Album Review

Album: The New Sound

Artist: Les Paul

Year: 1950

Genre: Avant-Garde Jazz

Grade: A-

Is The New Sound jazz? Country? Folk? Avant-Garde? Maybe rock and roll? It’s a New Sound, whatever it is. Even though Les Paul is practically a household name, his music remains severely underrated. This early, experimental 10-inch LP is among his best works — an instrumental exploration of innovative guitar sounds and recording techniques.

Paul makes frequent use of multitrack recording and tape speed manipulation in order to create an entire jazz band of guitars. Due to the innovative technological techniques, It’s easy to hear bits and pieces of early rock and roll in several of these songs (chief among them “Hipbilly Boogie” and “South”), and Paul’s solos dazzle like Independence Day fireworks (most notably in the dizzying “Lady of Spain” and the dreamy opener “Brazil”). Speeding up the tape is a stroke of genius here, and the effects sounds anything but dated. It was cutting-edge in 1950, and it still sounds completely fresh today.

Though it is strange to dub this as “avant-garde,” it is “avant-garde” in the truest sense of the term: way ahead of its time. Hard to believe this was recorded in 1950, that’s for sure.

Les Paul’s The New Sound has earned the following Colin’s Review accolades:

“The New Sound” Album Review

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