Animal Magnetism

D.C. has produced its share of musical heroes, including go-go’s Chuck Brown, punk’s Ian MacKaye and jazz’s Duke Ellington. And if eight-string guitarist Tosin Abasi, above, continues his ascent, he’ll soon be among those legends. His post-metal, progressive jazz-rock shredding has been turning the heavy-music world on its ear.

Abasi’s band Animals as Leaders, which includes fellow eight-string guitarist Javier Reyes and drummer Navene Koperweis, released its second LP, “Weightless,” in November. It’s a dazzling instrumental showcase for Abasi, whose dizzying self-taught style blends classical counterpoint, jazz harmony and electronically treated tonalities with the raw power of metal.

But Abasi’s greatest technique is to fuse these styles without turning things into a shotgun wedding. Animals as Leaders’ experimental music is busy, but even the most convoluted parts on “Weightless” sound logically constructed and effortlessly played.

Legendary guitar shredder Steve Vai recently called Abasi “the future of creative, heavy virtuoso guitar playing.” It’s only a matter a time before that aforementioned trio of D.C. legends become a quartet.

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Dr. Andrea Bonior · January 31, 2012