"Halcyon Days"

(Fathom 11072-2) cd 1997

Just when you thought the world was safe from the trendy overly abused sounds of the Australian didgeridoo, a couple of masters on the instrument renew it's power in a new setting. The ever prolific Steve Roach teams up with Trance Mission members Stephen Kent, and Kenneth Newby on this new release on Hearts of Space offspring label, Fathom.

With two world-class didgeridoo players in the studio, it's no surprise that this instrument plays a major role. Kent's earthy rhythms and the aboriginal outcries make the music come vibrantly alive. Add Roach and Newby's electronic textures, and Newby's array of Indonesian instruments, and you have a perfect blend of ancient and contemporary sources from aboriginal to electronic. Using textural samples and processed musical materials, Roach subjects these musical elements to studio treatments and his own distinctive compositional processes, yielding a work of an eclectic otherworldly tone.

As with Roachs' other recent collaborative excursions, Halcyon Days is a combination of musical genres, ancient and modern, and with the primary focus as always, on atmosphere. It is mature music, capable of evoking moods, feelings, sights, sounds, memories, and places. Halcyon Days brings three intuitive musicians all working superbly together as a cohesive unit, bringing their collaborative vision to life. The subtle complexity of the music makes it breath a life of its own as it emanates from the speakers. It's an interesting mixture of styles and one that could be developed further I'm sure. In summary, its an album that never cease to surprise and impress the listener. For a short audio sample, please click here.

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Review by Ben Kettlewell


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