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Top Customer Reviews
All the pieces are by Towner, except 'Sand' which reappears in another guise in Weber's magnificent Yellowfields. 'Oceanus', the opening track, gives the greatest scope for the soloists to stretch out, and their solos develop and augment the crystalline soundscape and its mysterious territory very effectively. However, 'Drifting Petals' provides a warmer, more luscious contrast to all this austerity, and is doubly welcome as it is such an exquisite piece, evocative and enchanting in equal measure. Be clear: this is not an ECM album to relax into, but it is a very high quality example of consummate professional musicianship. Penguin Jazz Guide ****
Most curious things in the first half of this recording are, to me, the first [Oceanus] and third [Drifting Petals] songs, which remind me in both the title and musical content of, respectfully, The Ocean Song [from Pat Metheny: Watercolors] and A Lotus on Irish Streams [from Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame]. The feeling is of a strange sameness despite the different measurable identities.
A less curios thing is that the flute theme form 'Nimbus' reminds me of an ECM record by Eberhard Weber - 'The Colours of Chloë'. Towner-Christensen duo funk-number 'Piscean Dance' is again, to me, very reminiscent of the long intro to 'Dancing Girls' [from NHOP Trio: To a Brother]. The piece must also contain the far most inventive version ever recorded of the basic rock/pop-beat on the drum set!
The whole recording is a marvellous masterpiece, including the two short numbers, which are _not_ fillers. This album does not have as much straight-ahead melody as it has _hidden_ melodic content, something that reveals itself by concentrated listening. An example of an element guised in the atmosphere is the appearance and disappearance of the tenor saxophone from, and to, inside of the long, sustained notes of Eberhard Weber's cello [in the first piece]. Ralph Towner plays _excellent_ classical guitar on 'Winter Solstice', a part which could be from any end-of-19th-century Spanish guitar masterpiece. (As well, listen to a little but significant musical "trick" at the end of Drifting Petals, which is not often heard. )
Sum up: I truly recommend this album, if you want to hear a most inventive, imaginative and masterfully performed piece from the ECM catalogue. This is not new age music, but music of a mostly refined and contentuous character. Buy it if you want to take the challenge of getting art-like popular music to really focus on.
Garbarek plays mainly tenor and his crying, haunted sound at slow tempo characterises the disc and gives the music the strength it has. By comparison his soprano has always sounded a little light but is not much featured. His flute, a new sound to me, is, and is an important part of the music. Weber's bass is strongly featured, both as carrying melodic lines and supporting the ensemble. Christensen is less prominent but adds constant repeated drum patterns and commentary although little rhythmic impulse. All three musicians have long experience in the ECM type of music and their work here is an attractive example of that style.
Towner is slightly different. His acoustic guitar is pleasing and fits in well with the harsh sound of Garbarek's tenor. When he solos at length he shows himself to be a fine guitarist but to these ears he spends a little too much time making sounds off to the other players rather than any extended music.
Of the tunes, 'Visitation' and 'Red And Black' are little more than brief interludes, but 'Oceanus' is a lengthy piece featuring good solo and group improvisation all round. The remaining tunes are mainly slowish but Garbarek works up a considerable head of steam a couple of times and there is an attractive guitar feature on 'Piscean Dance' and some appealing flute on a couple of tracks. Indeed, there is considerable variety on the disc bearing in mind the similarity of tempi in most tunes.
So, an attractive record, without being particularly significant.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
was recommend by a friend It's taking me places in my head and filling my soulPublished 12 months ago by George Evdemon
I will not talk here about the music from this great album. The music is magnific.
I will tell you about how it sounds. And the word is VERY DISAPPOINTING !! Read more
I have loved this record since first buying it as an LP. Garbarek pre MOR tedium, Towner masterfully in control, Weber still the cool old guy and Christensen quietly inventive and... Read morePublished on 15 April 2012 by Partial Mind
This fine reissue dates back to 1975,and it still retains its sense of magic,thee magnificent opener features an incredible confidence,Towner leads a masterful display of... Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 2010 by Finbar the looney