Checkpoint, by The Unseen Guest: notes about their second album

Well... if you know about 3how, then you know about me and Amith and the various projects we've worked on, including live concerts, theatre, musicals and The Riverwalk Session. But, before 3how, Amith was part of the  team that recorded two albums under the name of The Unseen Guest. I was fortunate to be around at the time the CDs were being made and had a hand in the layout of the artwork. The second album features photos I took in Myanmar, including the cover. Here is an excellent interview, with Amith and Declan, The Unseen Guest. The following text is something I wrote for Schott ,the record company that released the two Unseen Guest albums.. It is a tad bit commercial, but I hope its sincerity can be felt. The Unseen Guest really did produce some very very very good music. Google them. On Youtube you will see videos produced by fans, which says it all. Checkpoint, like the first album of The Unseen Guest, beautifully weaves two influences into a seamless whole. The instrumentation combines bluesy melodies (check out the harmonica work of Curtis King on Miracle Mile) with elements from pop, folk, rock and free jazz. To describe the album as a combination of the best of eastern and western musical styles would not be an exaggeration. The album closes with an excellent rendition of Leonard Cohen's Everybody Knows, which is familiar yet new, with a beautiful string arrangement. It is only on a second listening that the listener realizes that some of the album's sounds are distinctively Indian - percussion instruments like the dholaks on Ancient Greek, and the gan-jra on the Whitest Lie. The tablas pop nicely, the sax is rich and one can feel the dusty roads of India in Declan's voice. The listener receives a continual variety of pleasant surprises through-out! "Imagine a jailhouse where you're always free..." At times world weary, at times full of joy, Checkpoint is a traveller's diary, full of dualities and memories recorded on the spur of the moment. Not the cliches of East and West, but the stuff of novels and good movies: wanderlust versus security, love versus cynicism; the wildness of Saturday night and the regrets of Sunday morning. Checkpoint is an apt title for the Unseen Guest's second album. With it, Declan and Amith acknowledge the successful musical territory of their first album - but  keep moving forward. A solid collection of eleven songs, Checkpoint combines the best of two (or more) worlds. The Unseen Guest have produced yet another beautiful dusty snapshot of life on the road, one you can sing and dance to!
Color photo of musicians on stage

Amith Narayan, Declan Murray, Silvestro Studdu Mascali and Stefano Schiavocampo: The Unseen Guest in Europe, 2007

Checkpoint on cdbaby The Unseen Guest on Facebook

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