rock guitarist Charles Brown returns in 2017 with his all new instrumental
CD - Explorer Of Life - released on CD and digital download.
Explorer Of Life follows the 2015 Charles Brown album Wind
Of The Eastern Sea and is his finest album to date. Best known
to guitar fans as one of the finest independently produced, instrumental
prog-rock fusion artists, Charles Brown has earned a stellar reputation
for his many fine albums that offers a mix of guitar-based Progressive,
Jazz-Rock Fusion and Hard Rock instrumental songs and arrangements.
Fans of guitar heroes such as Pete Townshend, Richie Blackmore, Pat
Metheny, Alex Lifeson, Kim Simmonds and George Benson will want to
listen as Charles Brown explores the realms of the electric guitar
with his 2017 CD, Explorer Of Life. Featuring ten tracks, Explorer
Of Life leads off with the title track Explorer Of Life
and the entire album burns its way through a wide range of electrifying,
rock-based instrumental guitar tracks, all spotlighting Charles playing
a number of guitars, synths and percussion. Combining all types of
guitar performancefrom hard rock and jazz-rock fusion to classical
guitar, guitarist / composer Charles Brown has remained a popular
exponent of progressive instrumental rock guitar music for the past
fifteen years. Bursting on the scene with his 2000 album Mystics,
Charles has released a number of extraordinary instrumental albums
over the years and his 2017 album Explorer Of Life is his finest
CD yet. www.facebook.com/charlesbrownguitarist
mwe3.com presents an interview with
The Explorer Of Life
When and where was the music on Explorer Of Life written and
recorded and where does the album find your writing and recording
style in 2017? How does Explorer Of Life compare both sound
wise and compositionally with your last album Wind Of The Eastern
Charles Brown: I've been working on the songs for Explorer
Of Life for almost a couple of years. Most of it was recorded
at my own personal studio, but some parts were done at the studio
that Yarrow, the blues/classic rock band I also perform with, uses.
Explorer Of Life is more of a collection of individual songs
compared to Wind of the Eastern Sea, which was mostly one long
composition with themes and motifs.
mwe3: How did you choose the name Explorer Of Life as
the title of the new album and tell us something about the title track
fits into the Explorer Of Life concept and vibe. Are you an
explorer of life and the concepts of the art of progressive
instrumental music? Is that how you want to be seen and heard?
Charles Brown: Explorer Of Life is the concept of exploring
the meaning of, and the brilliance of LIFE, as well as our journey
through life and all that we experience. The title track conveys this
concept as it has different sections and textures it travels through.
I love working with and exploring progressive music, and would like
to be seen as a Progressive musician.
mwe3: Who else was involved in the recording and production
Explorer Of Life and were there other musicians involved? On
Wind Of The Eastern Sea you worked with Bill Boerder and Steve
Espinosa, were they or other players involved this time as well? There's
an amazing, full-bodied sound on Explorer Of Life.
Charles Brown: Steve Espinosa did keyboards and textures. Hes
done music for the Food Network previously, and has worked with jazz
artists in the Denver area. Bill Boerder helped with additional engineering.
We used a combination of our Pro Tools systems, along with AKG &
Audio Technica mics, and Lexicon Processing.
mwe3: Explorer Of Life starts off with the title track.
Does the title track work as an overture of sorts?
Brown: It could be thought of as a type of overture, but I wanted
the songs to be individual pieces instead of a full blown, complex
mwe3: Parallel Journey makes a great segue from
Explorer Of Life and it mixes acoustic guitars with the
main themes which come in on electric guitars. Tell us about the power
of the guitar in your music when you mix acoustic and electric as
you do on Parallel Journey.
Charles Brown: The guitar is the basis for the song ideas.
Ive been really influenced by the progressive and classic rock
bands that combine acoustic elements with straight ahead electric
and rock textures like Alex Lifeson, Pat Metheny, Marillion, and even
mwe3: Ecliptic Voyage starts off with another acoustic
interlude before the rock sound kicks in. Is that style of mixing
acoustic guitars with electrics missing from music these days? The
main theme is one of your best yet and tell us how you invented the
ending of the track.
Charles Brown: The intro is very influenced by Steve Hackett
and the textural things he did with Genesis. The main riff is more
Deep Purple influenced. I dont think mixing different textures
is missing from todays music
its just that you tend
to gravitate towards the music and artists that have influenced you.
Would you say that New Horizon is more prog-rock in nature
than some of the other Explorer Of Life tracks? Tell us about
the synth sounds on New Horizon.
Charles Brown: The melody lines in New Horizon
are a combination of straight guitar and guitar synth. It was put
together over a straight chord pattern, with guitar synth textures
added to make the sound larger.
mwe3: Tell us about your new version of the Bach Prelude.
How big an influence was Bach on your music and guitar work and why
did you choose this piece to cover?
Charles Brown: J.S. Bach is one of my favorite classical composers.
He wrote such beautiful melodies and harmonies. The Prelude from the
1st Cello suite is a pretty well known piece, and is somewhat easier
than the more difficult pieces. Theres still a few rough spots,
but I wanted to show a bit of the classical side.
mwe3: Above The Mist is another acoustic driven
cut on Explorer Of Life. What can you tell us about your decision
to inject the acoustic sound of Above The Mist?
Charles Brown: That one is in DADGAD tuning, which Jimmy Page
used in a lot of the Led Zeppelin acoustic stuff. The keyboard part
in the middle is classical sounding with almost a counterpoint effect.
mwe3: Is there a story behind wanting to make Wind Of
Darkness Suite a two part opus and is that the heaviest track
youve ever done?
Charles Brown: Wind Of Darkness was actually 2
pieces I combined together into a mini suite. The name came about
from the Paris terrorist attacks last year or so. The images on the
news coverage were so intense that it made me think it was like The
Spectral Voyage is one of the most New Age type tracks
on Explorer Of Life. It has a very outer space type vibe to
Charles Brown: That one is very Pink Floyd-like, with a Pat
Metheny guitar-synth inspired middle section. The chord textures and
guitar lines are kind of David Gilmour inspired.
mwe3: When The Sun Rises is a great way to close
the album out. Short but sweet.
Charles Brown: I wanted to end with something acoustic and
melodic after all the heavy guitar and guitar synth pieces. Its
fairly simple acoustic finger-picking, with some guitar synth pads
added to fatten it up a bit.
mwe3: Can you tell us what guitars were used on Explorer
Of Life and if there was any new technology implemented during
the recording process? How do you try to improve your recording sound
from album to album?
Charles Brown: The main guitars were Fender Strat, Gibson SG
and Les Paul with mainly Marshall amps for the electric stuff. I have
another Fender Strat with a MIDI pickup for the Guitar synth. The
acoustic is a cheapo line that Martin used to make called Vega, and
my classical is a Yamaha. I think the way to keep improving is to
mess around with new sounds and ideas. Some things work, and some
dont, but that helps keep you fresh.
mwe3: How many albums have you recorded so far and I know you
might be planning a kind of Charles Brown anthology CD in the near
future. What might that look like? Where would it start and where
might it conclude?
Charles Brown: Ive kind of lost count! I think around
7 or 8. Im thinking of doing some type of anthology that would
include a cross section of much of what Ive done so people can
sample my past work. It would probably include a few new things as
Where do you see Explorer Of Life fitting into both the progressive
rock instrumental world as well as the guitar sound of the 21st century.
What audiences are you trying to reach and what do you hope listeners
will feel after exploring Explorer Of Life?
Charles Brown: Explorer of Life has Progressive and
straight ahead rock elements that would appeal to fans of hard hitting
guitar work, as well as fans who enjoy progressive music with melodies
and changing time signatures, as well as different textures. I would
hope the listeners will feel like they've been on a journey through
a variety of textures and styles.