At the age of 16, the Austrian guitarist Julian Kleiss won the international guitar competition Open Strings in 2006. In 2008 he won the Austrian Newcomer Award and is presently studying at the California Institute of the Arts. With "Birth of the Chameleon", Julian Kleiss is now presenting his debut album on Acoustic Music Records. Modern finger-style, played on a nylon-string with his own compositions and adaptations of pieces by Buck Wolters, Don Ross and Michael Jackson.
With "Spirited Chameleon" alone, Kleiss shows the entire range of his ability to achieve musical transformations. Percussive playing on the whole body of the guitar, rocky, funky grooves and differentiated tappings alternate with fine bass lines supporting a gentle melodic line and playfully interspersed harmonics. The entire album is as self-contained as the first title - at times demanding and driving as in "How Are Our Orders Doing?", at other times dreamlike and playful as in "Naps Are Nice". In his adaptations of pieces by other musicians, Kleiss shows that he can effortlessly unite the various instrumental parts on just one guitar and, with "Tight Trite Night", the listener has to be careful that his/her ears are fast enough to be able to follow Kleiss's fingers.
One can surely expect a great deal from a man whose playing won over listeners even years prior to his guitar studies. With "Birth of the Chameleon", Julian Kleiss utterly fulfils these expectations.