Monday, 14 February 2011

The Tom Curiano Demo's featuring Jon Anderson

Tom Curiano is one of a number of musicians who have entered into an internet collaboration in recent years with Jon Anderson drafting and creating new music. Jon likes to offer snippets of work he has done over the internet and recently organised some of these collaborations into a "demo CD" CD Survival and Other Stories which I purchased at the recent Jon and Rick concerts. These have resulted in some of Jon's best work for sometime but none of this material outshines this wonderful batch of music and it is to be hoped that Jon will return to Tom and complete these pieces for a professional release.  
Knowing –An important rotating motif starts the piece great vocal arrangement and strong performance from Jon. If you judge music by the intelligence/knowledge it reflects this is up there with Olias and the Jon & Vangelis series. This is modular like Brian Wilson and by wrapping together a sympathetic idea builds up the emotional commitment to the music. The third segment is full of joy uplifting and builds to a glorious fade Yes this is pure Brian Wilson in construction. A pocket symphony full of life, sophistication, intelligence and lovely insistent repeating musical motives.
So Many Dreams – again strong clear repeating attractive chord sequence with new sounds and a fresh feel. There is a lot of trademark Jon here but once again it sounds like this is Tom’s baby. Some sub Yes “important” drumming and searing guitar lines as the pieces builds I am reminded of Incoming from Survival but this has more breadth. This is a “serious piece”. 
Mr Moses – “Is it more than you want” Jon sings an attractive piece full of charm and a lovely warm feel. Great musical motif and another sophisticated arrangement and supportive string sounds. The vibe of the rhythm is strong, all the pieces are infused with strong melodies but this one is also defined by the rhythmic pulse with nice wordless vocals from Jon. 
Many – sub reggae feel an urgent beat and a strong rhythmic vocal performance from Jon. Great dry drum sound and lovely imaginative chant harmonies great interjecting acoustic guitar fills.
Make Room (for the Giving Tree). – This is definitely sub yes music great mysterious vocal from Jon full of atmosphere lovely dribbling guitar work a la SH. Occasional dirty Bass Surges a la CS. Very strong main melody although some Yes quotes a modern and fresh  approach some beautiful languid sustained notes from the guitar. Once again the music has personality which lives in your mind after you have finished listening to it - a great potential Yes song.
Make A Difference – A vaguely dance track with a nice groove a nice change of mood mid period. Lyrics include a reference to the Living Tree. One of those pieces that grows on you as it develops.
Lover – Another beautiful nagging riff and a mature and sophisticated feel.
Lament – a wonderful regretful feel a little like the slowed section of “The Spell”. Again strong basic song structure and nice chord changes one of the few demos that drag slightly towards the end which would be put right by being seriously recorded.
Know Now – Pure Jon Tom’s songs are very suited to Jon’s musical personality. Sentimental but the strength of the tune and the chord changes stops it from being twee. This has a very Brian Wilson feel to it.
How - Jon’s voice is very fragile and again the synths sounds give it sophistication and depth. The chording gives it a vaguely jazz feel which means it is very much at the sophisticated end of Jon’s “output”. 
Flight of the Runner  Performed as a lovely shuffle version.
Blessings – Utterly beautiful the “guitar” intro almost has a Koto feel to it. I love this piece because of the space in the music. Once again the writing shows a maturity and strength that puts it up with the best of any of Jon’s other solo work.
Beginnings – A nice opening ascending clear and high and defined without being to formulaic. Once again the music has an inner artistic sense of urgency.  
Animal Life – Again a wonderful nagging riff repeating adding atmosphere and mystery love the bottom end of the chord on this. This has a wonderful pulse a real sense of commitment and focus and once again the chording is sophisticated. The slowed down section is gorgeous and very organic in the transition. The tune is strong enough to take the attention it receives from Jon’s vocal.