Sunday, May 22, 2016

Triton - 1978 - Wilderness Of Glass

Wilderness Of Glass

01. One Below 5:16
02. Wilderness Of Glass 8:10
03. Change Of Scene 8:05
04. Journey 5:44
05. Greasy Sunday 5:38
06. Upfront 8:36

Saxophone – Alan Wakeman
Bass – Paul Bridge
Drums – Nigel Morris
Engineer – Derek Tomkins

Recorded at Beck Studios, Wellingborough, Northants on January 6 and 7,1978.

This small masterpiece of 'free britannico’ was released in 1978 on Graham Collier's Mosaic, an independent label which, in only five years (from 1974 to 1979) acquired a discreet fame amongst jazz aficionados. It represented the launch-pad for some important work by the likes of Stan Sulzmann, Roger Dean, Howard Riley and Tony Hymas, as well as by Collier himself and by the Wakeman-led Triton. After thirty years this trio's performance is as powerful as ever and, owing to the remastering, Wakeman's tenor sounds even more ferocious and razor-edged. The rhythm section provided by Bridge and Morris is equally impressive: they fill in every small space left available by the soloist, creating a richness of light and shade which adds tension to the improvisation. The only moment of respite is provided by the sinuous magic of Greasy Sunday.

12/06/2012 Adrian Litvinoff - 'Interplay' blog:
What a delight! Among my post-holiday junk mail and brown envelopes was a copy of Interplay saxophonist Alan Wakeman’s CD re-issue of his 1978 recording ‘Wilderness of Glass’. Triton, his power trio with Paul Bridge on double bass and Nigel Morris on drums, was a formidable free-wheeling unit that combined energy and excitement with a clarity of purpose and musical direction not always found in the free jazz movement. Having seen the band in the 1970s I was curious about how it would sound today. Would my youthful recollections be re-affirmed, or would my taste in jazz have changed, altering my ability to listen to it again after all this time?
I need not have worried! From the dramatic opening sounds the album moves swiftly through a huge range of dynamics and gestures that are both succinct and articulate. Motifs and moods have time to develop without being over-indulged, and impressive instrumental technique remains secondary to musical objectives. A sense of focus pervades the album resting on the rapport and responsiveness of the three players. In fact I am probably better able to appreciate it now than I was back in the day, and to enjoy it all the more for all that. After all it can take time to learn how to listen!
Sadly Paul Bridge is no longer with us. He was a familiar and much-admired figure on the scene, so it is particularly good to hear him again here. I remember playing with Nigel Morris in Oxford many years ago – it was like being next to a hurricane! – and along with all his ferocity there was a musical warmth and curiosity that made it fun as well as challenging. So, good to hear him again as well.
But listening to this album again now is not about nostalgia. It is about re-connecting with something exciting and strong, that had its origins many years ago but still retains its conviction, its potency and capacity to delight. Check it out!

Ariel Kalma - 1983 - Open Like a Flute

Ariel Kalma 
Open Like a Flute

Original Cassette:

01. Japanese Island 2:25
02. Open Like A Flute 2:10
03. Puja 2:45
04. Boreale 4:15
05. Arrival 6:20
06. Slalom 2:10
07. First Light 5:50
08. Sazz Flute 13:20
09. Aman 16:00

2015 LP Re-release:

01. Pagnifico 17:21
02. Japanese Island 2:25
03. Flute Echo 2:05
04. Saxaman 15:35
05. Boreale 4:11
06. Bush Breath 2:26
07. Open Like A Flute 10:22
08. First Light 5:13
09. Puja 2:38
10. Slalom 2:02
11. Arrival 5:48
12. Libra Moon 16:06

My version from Bandcamp:

01. Pagnifico 17:21
02. Arrival 05:48
03. First Light 05:13
04. Saxman 15:35
05. Open Like a Flute 10:22
06. Japanese Island 02:25
07. Flute Echo 02:05
08. Puja 02:38
09. Slalom Aleikum 02:02
10. Boreale 04:14
11. Libra Moon 16:06

Double album of ambient instrumentals to relax, daydream and infuse the brain with cleaning frequencies for the well-being.

Total time: 1 hour and 24 minutes -- relax...

Recorded from 1981 to 1984 in Montreal, Paris and Hamburg. This version is a combination of 2 releases under the same name: the original Astral Muse cassette in Canada and the Nightingale cassette from 1984. The important difference is: those cassettes were not sounding so good! For this double LP Ariel converted his ¼” analog tape masters from the 80’s to 24bit digital tracks! Because of those older tapes you occasionally will hear some sound artifacts which Ariel decided to leave in as taking them out would hinder some frequencies… and Ariel likes strange, trance-inducing frequencies a lot! Listen loudly to ‘Flute Echo’ and you will experience the ‘mind cleanse’ effect!

VINYL double LP available here!

released April 12, 2014

Ariel Kalma: Flutes, electric piano, drums, organ, synthesizer, jaw harp, voice, bells, harmonium, soprano sax , effects, mix
Original art: Rupananda (Canada) 2014 art: Ariel Kalma

Merci a Raoul Duguay pour son amitie et son studio de son au Quebec. Anadi Martel fut un tres bon ami durant ces mois a Montreal… merci aussi a Jacques Darnis de France pour son aide technique et support moral !

Flute, Drums, Organ, Synthesizer, Jew's Harp [Jaw Harp], Voice, Bells, Baglama [Sazz], Harmonium, Soprano Saxophone, Effects [Space & Delay] – Ariel Kalma

Recorded from 1981 to 1984 in Montreal, Paris and Hamburg. This version is a combination of two releases under the same name 'Open Like A Flute': the original Astral Muse cassette released in Canada 1982, and the Nightingale cassette from 1984.

Originally composed between 1981 and 1984 and initially appeared only on tape in two different editions, the proposed material from Kalma for this work confirms his pantheistic vision of the ethnic sound that had already emerged in 1978 with the masterpiece Osmose. The deep consciousness of the compositional techniques of Indian ragas it's mixed here with embroidered electronic textures on which flute and sax explore the most secret archetypal elements of nature. In this way Kalma offers to the listener a personal idea of sacred music with luminous and oneirics tones but always dialoguing with a highest cosmic conception of things. With a clever use of effects, harmonium, delays and exotic percussions Kalma becomes the creator of soundscapes from the endless myriad shades.Such a fusion of western avant-garde and eastern traditione approaches the frech musicien to other big names of the international panorama as Popol Vuh, Angus Mclise or Laszlo Hortobagy. The master comes from original 1/4’’ analog tape from the 80’s.

Ariel Kalma - 1981 - Musique Pour Le Reve Et L'Amour

Ariel Kalma 
Musique Pour Le Reve Et L'Amour

01. Musique Pour Le Reve Et L'Amour (30:42)
02. Music For Dream And Love (30:05)

- Ariel Kalma - Everything, Voice

Packaging: orange cassette and case with J-card.

Aside from being a musician, Kalma seems always to reveal itself as a philosopher, a solitary explorer of higher and deeper consciousness. Persevering in his relationship with Indian classical music, he transfigures the acoustic-ecstatic dimension typical of the raga-tampura by modulating synths and wind instruments. This work, which appeared on two different cassettes in 1981 and 1982, is ideally one unique project. In Musique Pour Le Reve Et L'Amour, Kalma infinitely expands the reverberations of the flute, multiplying the nuances with the phasing and loops of organs that recall the beginnings of Terry Riley. Music For Dream And Love is structured like a oceanic carpet of aquatic and airy reflected sounds, a limitless shore from which seem to be emerging voices of celestial entities. Ariel Kalma's music is always a fine electronic meditation perfumed by warm atmospheres.

This work, which appeared on two different cassettes in 1981 and 1982, is ideally one unique project. On 'Musique Pour Le Reve Et L'Amour' Kalma infinitely expands the reverberations of the flute multiplying the nuances with the phasing and loops of organs that recall the beginnings of Terry Riley. The second part ('Music For Dream And Love') is structured like an oceanic carpet of aquatic and airy reflected sounds, an unlimited shore from which seem to be emerging voices of celestial entities.

Ariel Kalma - 1980 - Interfrequence

Ariel Kalma

01. Generus 2:08
02. Casiopee 2:15
03. Oasis 2:28
04. Retour D'Elle 2:42
05. Danse Soeur 5:07
06. Promenade 4:07
07. Round You Go 3:16
08. Merry Forest 4:26
09. Barimpa 2:25
10. Gaite Blue 1:16
11. Vers Gaite 2:07
12. Rep Voc 3:22
13. Trompe Vie 1:24
14. Zdunska Wola 2:50
15. Chinassou 1:20
16. Ba-Tu-Kalma 1:20
17. Interfrequence 5:16
18. Source Fraiche 3:50

 Synthesizer, Flute, Organ, Saxophone, Harmonium, Horns, Clarinet, Effects – Ariel Kalma

Originally conceived for film and TV in 1980, theses pieces grew in popularity as time passed... maybe because of their rare appearances?
After the 1978 exploits of Osmose, Ariel Kalma returned to the studio in 1980 to create the space-ambient library record Interfrequence, reissued here for the first time. In a continuation of Kalma's personal research into the combination of electronic machines with natural sounds and acoustic instrumentation, the French musician plays the master of ceremonies with his synths, but he diverges from the symphonic, galactic suites composed by other standard-bearers like Richard Pinhas and Klaus Schulze. One finds 18 short sound-pictures (a few of them in collaboration with M. Saclays) that emanate an unparalleled variety of ideas and ethno-cultural influences. Kalma's distinctive compositional style always returns in a crescendo of ecstatic emotions reflecting on the hidden and secret aspects of the micro- and macro-cosmos. If in Osmose the sampling from the mother Gaia was more explicit, here nature is investigated not only in terms of pure tones, but also in the dynamics of flows and movements dictated by the frequency of Moogs and organs. Complete with embellishments of hyper-space flutes, trumpets, and clarinets, Interfrequence is yet another chapter in Kalma's personal saga of sound imagery discovery.

Ariel Kalma - 1978 - Osmose

Ariel Kalma

01. Saxo Planetariel 06:06
02. Message 18.10.77 09:15
03. Planet Air 05:52
04. Forest Ballad 77 04:15
05. Manege 09:48
06. Gongmo 05:46
07. Osmose Chant 05:18
08. Saxo Forest 03:26
09. Orguitar Soir 09:07

Ariel Kalma was recommended to Richard Tinti who had just come back from Borneo with hours of rainforest ambiences in high quality recordings (on a ‘Nagra' recorder). To their amazement, birds and keyboards, flutes and crickets, saxophones and frogs, war drums and (vintage) drum machines had much in common in terms of pitch, melodies, rhythms, effects. Ariel decided to blend his compositions with the rainforest atmosphere, and thus Osmose was created

Liner notes from Chris McNutt, Blur Records, USA:

Ariel Kalma's magical and weird Osmose originally released in 1978 masterfully matches Richard Tinti's rainforest field recordings with Ariel's left field minimalist compositional ideas. Rather than simply relying on the rainforest sounds providing a pleasant backdrop to the drones, the drones interplay with the pitches of the natural sounds to create melancholic, Popol Vuh like grandeurs. The natural chirps and creaks blend with the music to become similar to ambient loops themselves; such that their very tonal nature shifts from being recognizable jungle sounds, frequently phasing into blurred rhythmic elements under the electronic parts.

Ariel's musical minimalism avoids being serialist or academic, despite being part of the INA GRM studios for many years. So, neither is it concrete like Parmeggiani or Risset, nor is it classical like Philip Glass or Michael Nyman. If anything, Ariel's music is deeply cosmic, sometimes even a bit psych, ala the great Krauts of yore: old Tangerine Dream, Sand, Cluster etc. His cathedral like tones and running counterpoints actually give the rainforest noise a sinister edge.

The music absolutely subverts the traditional idea of the rainforest as that of a happy hunting ground for cause riddled yuppies with Benzes full of Kruggerrands. Osmose reminds that not only is the rainforest a place of awe inspiring beauty, but it is also something very dense and alien. It is a place of removal; it is a place of isolation; it is a kind of inner space; it is an extraordinary and surreal church of sorts; and it is deadly.

The album has a progression that's almost a story in toto, where the next rise is finally crossed revealing the huge, seemingly impenetrable expanse of lush greens. The expanse is then explored with wide eyed wonder until the guide dies and the companions start succumbing to fever, ague, snakes and unseen primitives at home in the shadows. Appended by 3 previously unreleased tracks from the same sessions, this reissue finally allows the rainforest to live up to its natural state of untamed jungle.

1 Saxo Planetariel: Recorded during a concert under the stars of the Paris' Planetarium (1977) with soprano saxophone, circular breathing, long delays, keyboards, and effects (but no samples, loops or overdubs). Mixed later with the rainforest at night.

2 Message 18.10.77: "I wanted to send a musical message from earth that night…" With keyboards, vocals, flangers, long delays, Q filters, and dusk creatures from the jungle. Recorded at GRM studios, Paris.

3 Planet-Air: Recorded on the newly tuned big harmonium of the small church of St Julien du Sault, France: the light of a full moon coming through the stained glass windows, birds of Borneo.

4 Forest Ballad 77: A silver flute echoes ever changing harmonic waves of flanged keyboards and tuned reverbs amongst the trees of the rainforest, and as the sun gets hotter, morning birds and insect alike revel in a crescendo of sounds.

5 Manege: Composed in the ‘repetitive' style of the seventies, with 3 keyboards and their simplistic rhythm boxes, echoes, phasing, flanger and vocals. Recorded at Ariel's Astral Muse home studio, then overdubbed at the GRM studio with frogs, fireflies and all kinds of night creatures' calls. Ride the haunted rainforest merry-go-round…

6 Gongmo: Sound environment composed for a 1973 giant slide show named ‘Voyage au Centre de la Tete' (‘Journey to the Center of Your Head'), re-mixed with war drums of Borneo's indigenes that are ‘played' into a 40 bands/channel analog filter, creating changing effects driven into the late night forest's ambience.

Bonus tracks recorded while working on Osmose, but not included in original LP:

7 Osmose Chant: Dusk crickets, birds, birdcalls, harmonium, vocals, delays, keyboard, and a fly…

8 Saxo Forest: A saxophone gently stirs up the night forest…

9 Orguitar Soir: A sweet guitar and flanged keyboard (tuned in a Morrocan G'nawa music style) lounge in a summer glade, intermittently pierced by birdsong.

About Ariel Kalma:

Born and raised in Paris, France, Ariel started playing the recorder at age 9 and saxophone at 15. During his successive studies of Electronics, Computer Science, Music and Art in Paris, Ariel performed with R & B , rock, and jazz bands. After univeristy Ariel toured the world and visited Europe, Japan, India, Eastern Canada, and parts of the USA, acquiring assorted experiences in middle-age, electro-acoustic, ethnic and modal music. All the travels broadened Ariel's musical horizons tremendously; listening to and playing with different styles, people, and instruments, intricate scales, techniques, timing and rhythms.

After learning circular breathing from a snake charmer in India, Ariel practiced it on soprano sax - for many sleepless nights - in the basement of a cathedral in New York (when he was not playing upstairs on the large harmonium). Returning to France in late ‘76, Ariel could include those endless notes into his own long-delay-effect system with which he toured, playing solo concerts. Ariel contributed to the birth of (then) new music genres: minimalist, space, ambient, new age, electronic etc.

With his passion for recording and sound, Ariel always had a home studio (Astral Muse) and was also technical assistant to some of the composers at Paris' GRM – Musical Research Group part of the INA (Audiovisual National Institute), where he recorded some of his compositions.

Over 3 decades, Ariel Kalma published several vinyl LP's, cassettes, and CD's, many older ones out of print. His compositions have been used for modern dance-theatre, films, musical poetry, guided meditations, transformational groups. Ariel Kalma has also played on many albums in France - even throughout Europe, the US and recently Australia, where he lives.

Ariel Kalma - 1972 - Le Temps des Moissons

Ariel Kalma
Le Temps des Moissons

01. Le Temps des Moissons 16:41
02. Bakafrica 09:29
03. Voyage Reternelle 04:41
04. Fast Road to Nowhere 03:19
05. Reternelle 16:56

Bass [Djonkoloni] – Brahim el Belkani
Effects [Echoplex] Saxophone – Ariel Kalma
Guitar – Loi Erhlich*

Numbered edition of 1000 copies with hand drawn cover artwork.
Also contains an A4 insert.

Track B1 is credited as "Back Africa" on the record label.

Ariel Kalma is a prolific composer, multi-instrumentalist, and global traveler whose work ranges from electronic experiments and minimalism to electro-acoustic; ambient electronic to globally tinged new age music.
Kalma was born and raised in Paris where he began studying recorder at the age of nine and saxophone at 15, playing in school bands and rock & roll acts until he attended university, where his taste expanded to avant-garde and free jazz. While studying computer science and playing music in rock clubs he was encouraged by Belgian pop star Salvatore Adamo. After playing in a free jazz duo with a drummer for a time, he formally joined Adamo's road band playing sax and flute (he taught himself to play the latter instrument in a week). During his traveling adventures he met virtuoso Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell and played with him in Germany and later in Paris. When he returned to Paris in 1971, he began experimenting with Revox reel-to-reel tape recorders, delays, and analog loops using organs, poetry, flutes, saxophones, and noise. He hung out in churches, recording their atmospheres and natural sounds.
In early 1974, Kalma joined French pop singer Jacques Higelin's band and began traveling the world. During the nine-month trip, he found himself in an airplane hangar in India during monsoon season; he flipped on his portable tape recorder and claims to have had a "heart-opening" experience. He learned the technique of circular breathing on his travels. When he returned to Paris in 1974, after traveling the long way home, his attitude toward life and music making had changed forever.
He became deeply influenced by composers Terry Riley, LaMonte Young, and Charlemagne Palestine, and the global sounds of the Delhi-based Dagar Brothers of the Dhrupad, as well as their notions of minimal drones -- just intonation and well-tuned instrumentation -- and explored what he heard in these approaches given his own musical background, combining it with his tape recorder experiments. He worked for a time at Pierre Henry's legendary Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA GRM). It was during this period that he recorded and independently released his debut album, Le Temps des Moissons (The Time of the Harvest), in 1975, selling it from the back of his moped and on consignment to record stores.
Back in Paris, he met Riley and recorded his second album, Osmose, with sculptor and field recorder Richard Tinti, who supplied the composer bird and insect songs from a tropical rainforest. With a sound that walked the line between Eno's ambient music and the then-emerging new age music, Osmose was released in 1978 on France's SFP label.
In 1980, Interfrequence, an album that walked a beautifully loping line between experimental, drone-based music, and new age was released by Editions Montparnasse; it was followed in 1981 by Musique Pour Le Reve et L'Amour, 1984's cassette-only Bindu, and 1989's Serenity.
These early albums were merely Kalma's official output. He made dozens upon dozens of studio recordings that never saw the light of day; each applied a different aspect of his ongoing musical development, his world view, and aspects of his global travels. While his work took on a decidedly new age bent, his experiments with electronic music never ceased. Galactica Electronica, recorded during his '80s space music period, is ample evidence.
Kalma marketed his own recordings throughout the '90s and into the 21st century via his website, labels, and independent distributors. Highlights include Endless Breath and Flute for the Soul. In April 2014, Open Like a Flute, which combined two '80s-era cassette recordings from Montreal, Paris, and Hamburg. It was followed by RVNG Intl.'s collection of early tape recorder pieces, An Evolutionary Music: Original Recordings: 1972-1979, in the fall.

This has been the first solo recording LP from Ariel Kalma, recorded in 1975. After a long journey to India where he learnt the basics of modal music and singing, Ariel was inspired by the fusion of ancient and modern ways of playing music in the 70s with saxophone, ethnic instruments, effects, electric instruments and electronic filters. As making a record was expensive at that time, when the first thousand records were pressed Ariel run out of money so he bought blank sleeves and one by one, he drew the shape of his hand and numbered each LP. This first pressing is now rare and sought after!

Another detail made this LP memorable because it had not been done before: Ariel convinced the pressing engineer to loop the groove at the end of side 2 - thus creating an endless loop - and although it was casually mentioned on the cover, it caused surprises sometimes by sending listeners into trance. or on some occasions burning the motor of their turntable after endless hours! On this CD, Ariel included a loop of several minutes only, because the LP loop had an audio advantage: as time passed the sound of the loop changed because the diamond eroded the groove.

To the 3 compositions originally on the LP have been added 2 other ones from that period of time.
Note from Ariel : Saxophone is powerful. It has raw sounds that are often filtered, polished for easier listening. I like to let my saxophone sing and when I play, I hear high-pitched, teasing sounds that I like so much. they titillate my senses. If it is too sharp for your ears, adjust your EQ till you are comfortable.

Shadowfax - 1990 - The Odd Get Even

The Odd Get Even

01. Oasis - 5:07
02. One Winter Morning - 4:10
03. 1001 Nights - 4:25
04. A Pause in the Rain Greenberg -3:53
05. Her Dress Hangs There - 5:12
06. Changing of the Guard - 3:32
07. Boomerang Lewis - 4:15
08. The Odd Get Even - 3:32
09. Sujata - 5:23
10. One Heart - 4:13

Chuck Greenberg - Lyricon, flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Stuart Nevitt - cymbals, drums, programming
G. E. Stinson - guitar, accordion, electric guitar
Charles Bisharat - mandolin, violin
David Lewis - piano, Moog synthesizers
Phil Maggini - bass, percussion, piano
John Bergamo - drums, tabla
Ralf Hess - programming
Emil Richards - chimes, marimba
Toni Schneider - flute, saxophone
Michael Spiro - percussion, conga

This album will appeal to those fans of jazz fusion who also like strong melody and touches of world music. Generally this album creates atmospheres which has you saying "from where in the world does the influence for that come from?" Shadowfax were just...different.

_The Odd Get Even_ was the band`s most keyboard orientated album making full use of the then current technologies.

The opener "Oasis" begins with tabla but is drum driven throughout and is very powerful. It has a very unusual time signature. Stu Nevitt shows what a first class drummer/percussionist he is.

"Winter Morning" Is atmospheric & moody. Great work on keys by David Lewis is matched by Chuck Greenberg`s lovely lyricon & sax touches. The band are as tight as it gets.

"1001 Nights" is unusual as usual. Again the drumming is a highlight.

"A Pause In The Rain" is an all time Shadowfax classic. Memorable melody and very atmospheric - you can almost see the mist beginning to clear.... Greenberg shows why the band couldn`t carry on after his death he dominates the track with his lyrical sax & lyricon work. Just perfect.

"Her Dress Just Hangs There" is a different can of worms altogether - you just know the band means business. It rocks heavily and is structured to build to an almighty climax. Keyboards play the percussion line during the quieter passages but when Nevitt joins in and the band are in full flow they are completely superb.

"Changing The Guard" and "Boomerang" are not in the same league but are still interesting.

The title track is synth lead and is the most `progressive` track on the album. It has a `Big` sound.

"Sujata" and "One Heart" close the album in a quieter mood the former contemplative almost sad to begin before a jazzier finish the latter begins with some nice jazzy guitar touches before a lazy meander.

None of the instrumentalists battles for prominence on this album - they all take their turn at adding to the overall picture and complement each other perfectly.

As usual I find this Shadowfax album a joy to listen to.

Shadowfax - 1988 - Folklsongs For A Nuclear Village

Folklsongs For A Nuclear Village

01. The Firewalker- 4:54
02. We Used to Laugh - 4:07
03. Solar Wind - 5:08
04. Behind Green Eyes- 5:17
05. Lucky Mud - 4:40
06. Madagascar Cafe - 3:06
07. Against the Grain - 3:42
08. No Society - 4:16
09. Elephant Ego - 5:00
10. Folksong for a Nuclear Village- 5:13

Chuck Greenberg - Lyricon, flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Stuart Nevitt - cymbals, drums, programming
G. E. Stinson - guitar, accordion, electric guitar
Charles Bisharat - mandolin, violin
David Lewis - piano, Moog synthesizers
Phil Maggini - bass, percussion, piano

The band wrote these songs for a now obscure dance performance of the same name. Putting their distinctively complex style and typically insane array of ethnic instruments to danceable rhythms made for an album of exotic new age modern dance music unlike anything put out before or after.

Like many of their albums, it has the feeling of a soundtrack to a great fantasy video game you've never played. It actually predates such soundtracks by almost a decade.

They won a grammy for this album when it came out, but it didn't seem to stop Capitol from dropping the artist. Now the album is out of print. Go figure.

Shadowfax - 1986 - Too Far To Whisper

Too Far To Whisper

01. Too Far to Whisper - 4:30
02. What Goes Around -4:25
03. China Blue -4:06
04. Orangutan Gang (Strikes Back) - 3:48
05. Road to Hanna - 4:01
06. Streetnoise - 4:13
07. Slim Limbs Akimbo - 4:25
08. Tsunam i- 4:36
09. Maceo - 3:58
10. Ritual - 3:41

Chuck Greenberg - Lyricon, flute, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone
Stuart Nevitt - cymbals, drums, programming
G. E. Stinson - guitar, accordion, electric guitar
Charles Bisharat - mandolin, violin
David Lewis - piano, Moog synthesizers
Phil Maggini - bass, percussion, piano

Shadowfax formed in the mid-70s around founding members Chuck Greenberg (on sax and flutes), G.E. Stinson (on guitars) and Phil Magginni(on bass) and eventually were signed to the new-age label Windham Hill, where the band would release a number of memorable albums, none more so that this one, their 1986 release.

"Too Far to Whisper" (10 tracks; 42 min.) brings the perfect mix of the band jazzy-new age instrumental music. From the opening sounds of the title track, the music feels laser-sharp, and with memorable hooks left and right. The slow "What Goes Around" is the only track on here that features vocals, and it feels a bit out of place, frankly. "China Blue" brings, not surprisingly, oriental sounds. "Orangutan Gang (Strikes Back)" is an up-tempo song that brings out the best in the band's interplay in its rich instruments, and one of my favorite tracks on here. "Streetnoice" is another urgent track that wants to make you wanna get up and dance, enjoying Chuck's wood flutes and lyricon, just great. Truth be told, there is barely a weak track on here, and it's easy to see why this became Shadowfax's best selling album: it's just enough mainstream yet it keeps its edge.

Back in the mid and late 80s, I was a HUGE fan of the Windham Hill label, and bought quite a few of its then-vinyl album releases. I didn't repurchase them all on CD, but this album was one of them, and I'm glad I did, looking back after all these years. Back then, there would be the sporadic Windham Hill label tour, packaging a number of their artists, and on one of them, I caught Shadowfax in concert, and what a show they put on, just fantastic. Meanwhile, "Too Far to Whisper" remains as fresh today as when it was releases 30 years ago (has it really been that long?). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Shadowfax - 1984 - The Dreams Of Children

The Dreams Of Children

01. Another Country - 4:20
02. Snowline - 4:30
03. The Big Song - 4:00
04. The Dreams of Children- 4:50
05. Word from the Village - 4:40
06. Kindred Spirits- 4:15
07. Shaman Song - 5:20
08. Above the Wailing Wall - 4:50

G. E. Stinson - 6- and 12-string guitar, effects vocals
Chuck Greenberg - Lyricon, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, stone flute
Phil Maggini - bass
Stuart Nevitt - drums, percussion, boobams
Jamil Szmadzinski - violin, baritone violin
David Lewis - Yamaha DX7, Memorymoog, Steinway grand piano

OK, this may not be the glorious Shadowfax of their earlier fusion era, but still a very decent and pleasant album nevertheless.
If The Dreams of Children were to be judged solely on the basis of its level of "proggyness", it could easily be found lacking ... but for those who don't mind - for a change - a short New Age intermezzo in their "prog" spiritual diet, this Shadowfax album may feel refreshing.

I wasn't disappointed. Matter of fact, the Shadowfax evolution between their debut Watercourse Way and The Dreams was a lot more palatable than that of some bands, who shape-shifted into commercial pop outfits in the 1980's.

Shadowfax - 1983 - Shadowdance


01. New Electric India - 5:12
02. Watercourse Way - 5:06
03. Ghost Bird - 5:04
04. Shadowdance - 5:20
05. Brown Rice/Karmapa Chenno - 4:18
06. Distant Voices - 3:46
07. A Song for My Brother - 9:04

G. E. Stinson - 6 and 12-string guitar, vocal on 5
Chuck Greenberg - Lyricon, tenor saxophone, flute
Phil Maggini - bass
Stuart Nevitt - drums, percussion, vibraphone
Jared Stewart - piano synthesizers
Jamii Szmadzinski - violin, baritone violin, alto psaltry

Since I don't have to talk to 'YOU' face to face ,I don't mind admitting that I was along for the New Age ride.There indeed was some pleasant music to be had.I was particularly fond of Patrick O'Hearn of Zappa fame.Also had me some Yanni,Andreas Vollenweider and some quality stuff released on the German 'Erdenklang' label that was really nice, along with the Peter Bauman run Private Music and of course Windham Hill.
At that time in the early 80s I think I heard Shadowfax on the local university radio station and quite liked it.This was the only one of theirs i had at the time.Like most New Age it is very light fare.These guys are a little hard to describe ,but I guess some jazz rock light sorta mellow Jean Luc Ponty,Passport and Mike Oldfield at times, along with the odd dash of folky Hobbit'ish music. TCat's go an agreeable description,so I won't go track by track myself.

So if you wanna sit by a lake at dusk with a nice bottle of wine and mellow out with some background music,you can't go wrong with this.

Shadowfax - 1982 - Shadowfax


01. Angel's Flight - 4:00
02. Vajra - 4:20
03. Wheel of Dreams - 4:46
04.Oriental Eyes - 4:56
05. Move the Clouds - 3:08
06. A Thousand Teardrops - 4:15
07. Ariki (Hummingbird Spirit) - 3:10
08. Marie - 5:50

G. E. Stinson - 12-string acoustic guitar, 6-string acoustic guitar, piano
Chuck Greenberg - Lyricon, soprano saxophone
Phil Maggini - bass
Stuart Nevitt - drums, percussion

This self-titled album was my introduction to the band. I admit that I found it at random, and the only reason I got it was because I liked the name (yep, as far as I know, named after Gandalf's horse); I had no idea what the band sounded like. However, as this was a Windham Hill release, I was expecting something light, perhaps new age sounding, which is basically what I got. However, upon listening a little closer a few more times I noticed that it wasn't just your average new age: there was something a little more to it. I heard shades of familiarity, however distant, with some of my more prized prog rock music. And after a bit of research, I came to find out that Shadowfax indeed began their career in the 70s with the much more progressive sounding Watercourse Way (review of which I have also submitted), and did not release Shadowfax until 6 years later in the early 80's. They veered a bit away from prog in the 80's, except instead of moving towards pop (like many prog bands did) they went to new age/easy listening. Pretty much perfect for a Windham Hill release.
I've come to think of the album as "prog lite". There are parallels with the lighter tracks from Watercourse Way, but gone are the truly jazzy themes, vocals, hard drumming and electric guitar. The music is, for the most part, calming and evocative of a peaceful natural world. The best songs to my ears are the first two tracks: Angel's Flight and Vajra, which are two of the slightly proggy tracks that have a touch of off-beat rhythm and some excellent acoustic guitar. There are no exceptionally memorable tracks, but the album is good either for background listening (when you are doing something and don't want to be too distracted or emotionally swept away) or perhaps it could be good for meditation. It's a good album for those who appreciate prog, but occasionally like to dabble in or chill with light new age a bit.

Shadowfax - 1976 - Watercourse Way

Watercourse Way

01. The Shape Of A Word (7:39)
02. Linear Dance (5:51)
03. Petite Aubade (5:59)
04. Book Of Hours (6:37)
05. Watercourse Way (6:04)
06. Song For My Brother (9:41)

- Phil Maggini / Bass, Cowbell
- Stuart Nevitt / Drums, Tabla, Percussion
- G.E. Stinson / Guitar, Sitar, Vocals
- Chuck Greenberg / Lyricon, Saxophone [Soprano], Flute, Recorder, Oboe, Clarinet
- Doug Maluchnik / Piano, Electric Piano, Synthesizer [Moog, Sequencer], Harpsichord, Keyboards [Chamberlin]

One of new age electronic music's earliest and best-known proponents, Shadowfax were formed in Chicago in 1972 by saxophonist Chuck Greenberg, guitarist G.E. Stinson, and bassist Phil Maggini. Originally a blues band, the trio soon began exploring chamber jazz and folk; even medieval music began creeping into the mix, appropriately enough for a group named in honor of a horse from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Adding drummer Stuart Nevitt in 1974, Shadowfax issued their debut LP, Watercourse Way, two years later; failing to make an immediate impact, the quartet did attract a cult following that continued to grow following its subsequent signing to the Windham Hill label. Their commercial breakthrough arrived with the release of 1982's eponymously titled effort, which reached the upper rungs of the Billboard jazz charts; for the follow-up, 1983's Shadowdance, Shadowfax's ranks swelled with the additions of violinist Jamii Szmadzinski and pianist/synth player Jared Stewart. The band endured multiple personnel changes in the years to follow, with founding members Greenberg and Maggini both remaining constants well into the 1990s. However, given Greenberg's leadership position in Shadowfax and role in creating their signature sound (including his playing of the Lyricon electronic wind instrument that he helped to engineer), the group disbanded following the reedman's death from a heart attack while vacationing on California's Santa Cruz Island in September 1995.

This is another album that didn't sound anything like I though it would. I first heard of this band a few years ago on an internet radio show that played this one song by them with some regularity. I really liked it, it was pastoral and it really grew on me. Anyway I find out later (after buying this cd) that this band is known more for playing New Age music. So I put it aside with the idea of listening to it down the road. Anyway when I did finally break it out I was shocked at how aggressive it was, especially the guitar. Some songs sound just like MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA especially the McLaughlin-like guitar. There are a variety of styles though along with numerous instruments. Bottom line is that this is a treasure chest for Prog fans.
"The Shape Of A Word" has some mellotron in this aggressive intro with prominant guitar. It settles some with piano as the tempo continues to shift. So much going on at times with all these intricate sounds. The guitar after 3 minutes really reminds me of McLaughlin from the "Birds Of Fire" album. Scorching guitar ! Mellotron before 5 minutes then we get this collage of sounds late. Fiery Fusion at it's best right there. "Linear Dance" is the only track with vocals. It hits the ground running. A Fusion flavoured guitar style here as well as he lights it up. Very intricate drum work as well. Impressive. Vocals after a minute as it settles. It turns aggressive again as vocals continue. "Petite Aubada" is an acoustic track that sounds completely different from the first two songs. Is this the same band ? Piano, flute, acoustic guitar, mellotron and harpsichord among other instruments can be heard in this pastoral tune.

"Book Of Hours" has lots of piano early as chunky bass, synths, drums and other sounds join in. The guitar is on fire 3 minutes in. It settles before 4 minutes with sax. Piano and drums join in as the sax continues. The guitar takes over before 6 minutes and lights things up. "Watercourse Way" is full of intricate sounds including aboe. Flute and piano lead before 4 minutes. "Song For My Brother" is my favourite track. It's kind of dark with some atmosphere early. It brightens before 1 1/2 minutes. Tasteful guitar 2 1/2 minutes in that becomes so emotional a minute later. A calm 5 1/2 minutes in then piano arrives. Beautiful. The guitar after 7 1/2 minutes is so moving as it gets aggressive again. Mellotron in this song as well. Almost 10 minutes of bliss.