Costigan – The Universe Within

Costigan – The Universe Within – 4/5

As I sit in a candlelit room with only the faint whirring of my MP3 player desperately trying to discover that last bit of battery power, and the knowledge that soon my only companion amidst the darkness will become the disharmonious bleep of the alarm counting down until its inevitable decision to tell everyone within a mile radius about my plight, I realise it has given me time to think. Whilst much of time has dwelt on cursing the incompetence of those who can’t fix a simple power cut in less than three days, some of my time has been spent contemplating this release, which for all my claims of supporting the unsung musicians seems like a glitch on the musical radar.

Not written by the creator of the group but rather his brother, this instrumental has remained purposefully hidden from sight and made known only to a select few. Whether for a fear of dissenting opinions or a simply modesty that it wasn’t deserving of being mentioned, irrespective of the reason I’m glad to have been able to hear it as the music feels lost amidst modern times, unconstrained by the desire for speed and technicality that plagues many releases now emerging, and instead it lends the music an uncommon 80s rock vibe thrust forth in time. It’s more melodic and anthemic in the manner it all manages to flow and meander without a care, unconcerned for its simplicity; entire passages seem content to run on simple acoustic riffs or basic chord sequences but it never ends up feeling tired or overused, and despite at times feeling tonally constrained, each track seems to have its own intent and purpose in mind resulting in a healthy variety of styles and tempos emerging.

Often with just a basic drum beat and prominent bass line for company, the raw feel to the production works well in making the music stand out, cutting out the bells and whistles for a simple and honest groove which is where he inevitably excels. Now don’t mistake me for praising the underdog unjustly here; this isn’t going to be winning any awards for ‘album of the year’ (instrumental or otherwise), ‘Satriani’ won’t be facing stiff competition from this direction in the foreseeable future and as a musician he wont be climbing to the top of any ‘best of’ lists. What this release does deserve, however, is far more recognition than this rant on a small time music blog.

Highlights: Cellulite, Bass Chase-Counted Out, Rye Whisky Stomp