John Holden & Friends
The matter we are least prepared for is death. Ours, someone we love how do you unbundle watching someone die and then deal without them. Modern life, state sponsored, is about avoiding death putting it off endlessly ... without considering whether the life we have the 'epilogue age' is of value.
Some find energy in knowing they are close to death, that life is especially precious that time is limited and when we have that sense of hurtling towards it a special kind of energy is produced.
This CD/project is intended to raise awareness of death from a particular condition but I suspect the personalities involved entire lives are propelled by the fragility of life of looking into the abyss of death and loss and setting it aside and climbing more 'mountains'. That seems to me a good reason why we would skip around our end.
This CD is a simple thing."I am not beaten I have more to say."
When I put this collection 'on' I expected something like a sampler of one of those prog rock magazines. I was astonished.
This music is full of old fashioned passion, it exudes grace, heart felt sentiment, Tiger Moth Tales offering might be from a musical, "Love Not The Same" from "The Other Joe Payne." is reminiscent of Michael Bubble or George Michaels more sophisticated offerings. Mystery, a Band which holds a special place in my heart, because Benoit David graced them with his presence on a wonderful album ten years ago. Now Jean Pageau does the same on the utterly 'big', "How Do You Feel." Glorious big drum sound and lots of echo on the guitar which seers upwards through the heavens but its still tight and in control.
Mark Atkinson's "Brave The Storm," is one of a million responses to the human experiment, we are living through. He is right we must hold on and come through and when we do there must be CHANGE or the destruction we have wrought will be for nothing. But to weep and feel the pain of millions of children, of men and woman who have lost their livelihoods and business's, of the tens of millions waiting for life to come back normal so they can crawl out of the poverty they have been thrown into; to have a sound track for our emotions to all that, is RIGHT.
Oliver's (Oliver Day) contribution is charming subtle with those declining picked lines. He shows us life is about a restless search onward imbedded with humour.
Epilogue : Fly begins with some serious halting phrases from a piano before the voice comes in. One of many voices on thi CD that are a million miles away from that hairy rock tenor thing but controlled expressive thoughtful. "I need the strength to be alone." "to turn the darkness into light." "I will chose Life." The playing and arrangement on this piece are exquisite, the strings entirely right and the brass fits inside the music perfectly.
But to return to the architect at the centre of this we circle around the next project from John Holden. John really is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Steady, unassuming, northern (whats with Lancashire and Cheshire et al Anderson, Emerson and Holden) and yet his offering here is PERFECTLY judged and oozes musical skill.
After a big sound thundering around (death calling?) a rotating phrase, a beautiful female voice floats in, there is something vaguely Japanese in that repeating riff before it quietens down and then it returns again. "I am drawing circles in the sand with you." a beautiful image and the voice communicate the moment perfectly as well as a sense of determination to plough on when the darkness threatens to overwhelm. Then something musically extra ordinary happens a kind of bowed synthesiser or guitar improvises over that haunting Japanese vibe and its utterly BEAUTIFUL.
The haunting guitar comes back after a section with a nice loose drum accompaniment and then plays out. Utterly charming.
This is much more than a charity CD its a delightful collection of highly sympathetic music which emphasises grace, charm, beauty and the deft application of original and skilled talent.
That it begins with "Northern Lights" by "Renaissance" is entirely right and fantastic fun with that high ascending Bass Figure but its the body of this project which I will return to again and again. Buy it anyway its GREAT!