Named one of ‘The World’s greatest 7 and 8 string guitarists’ by Guitar World Magazine, Sarah Longfield continues to gain notoriety from a broad spectrum of musical giants by continuing to push the boundaries of technical songwriting. Sarah formed her first band, The Fine Constant, in 2012 and gained worldwide attention after touring with Marty Friedman. The multi-instrumentalist now tours supporting her solo material that provides a complex mix of genres melded together by masterful instrumentation. Longfield’s latest album, Disparity, peels back the cloth of traditional progressive music and takes the listener on a unique musical journey.
Disparity begins with an intro track consisting of a piano melody that takes you back to the foundation of Longfield’s musical career. Sarah began playing piano at a young age, and later picked up her first 7-string guitar at thirteen years old. The piano driven intro is a perfect segue into the first full track on the album, “Embracing Solace”. Not only does Sarah compose and perform all of the music on the album, she also provides beautifully arranged vocal harmonies. For me, the vocals stand out just as much as the instruments. I can’t help but be reminded of artists like Loreena McKennitt when I listen to the vocals on “Embracing Solace” or “Departure.” The almost operatic vocals add a layer of chilling atmosphere to the technical tracks.
Disparity continues forward with the track “Cataclysm.” Beginning with a trademark finger-tapping solo that Longfield is known for, “Cataclysm” drives home her musical talents. Even while being instrumental, the tempo changes, synthesized tones, and expert execution allow for “Cataclysm” to be a standout track on the album. “Sun” and “Citrine” are tracks that provide an alluring mix of jazz and blues. The saxophone tones, coupled with soothing blues guitar solos, add yet another layer of depth to Disparity. With every spin of this record I hear a new element that I didn’t previously notice. Longfield has mastered the art of developing layers in her music. “Miro” brings back a plethora of tempo changes and psychedelic undertones, while “Stay Here” relaxes the mind with a calm intro and peaceful vocal arrangements. Disparity concludes with an outro track, properly titled, “The Fall.” This is one of my personal favorites on the album and a perfect closing track. Tribal drum rudiments transition into heavy breakdowns as the track progresses. “The Fall” is slow, heavy, and it’s something I’d want to hear on a horror movie soundtrack. In true Longfield fashion, the crushing guitar tones are followed up with solos and hardcore breakdowns. The clean guitar outro is a perfect ending that leaves you wanting more.
Sarah Longfield has outdone herself with this album. Disparity has a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of technical solos and quick tempo changes, or soulful jazz and soothing vocals, I recommend giving this album a listen.
– Corey Smith