Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mark Isham, Art Lande|
Genres: Jazz, New Age, Pop, Rock
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A Flawed, Odd, Great Album
Stephen Silberman | SF, CA USA | 10/22/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The gentleman below is quite mistaken about the label this record is on. It's yet another of Manfred Eicher's ECM dreamworlds, rather than Windham Hill pap -- thus the gorgeous cover.First, the bad news: Lande and Isham must have both gotten synthesizers for Christmas in 1986, because there's an over-reliance on voicings that now sound dated -- as Elvis Costello said of one of his own albums once, "It has a bit of the Flavor-of-the Month to it." You can practically identify the brand, and the drum machine on the otherwise poignant "The Melancholy of Departure" sounds like a click track on a disco album.But oh, those melodies! This is an album of otherwordly splendor -- there's an uncannily *regal* quality to this music, as if Lande and Isham had written anthems for imaginary nations and monarchies. There's no other record quite like it -- it's like "magical realist" fiction turned into soundtracks of imaginary movies. There's a relentlessly melancholic and inward quality to this music, which can be a virtue (Nick Drake!). You might not feel happier after listening to it, but you'll feel like you've been taken somewhere.Lande -- a shockingly underrated genius -- is obsessed with circular figures here, with darkly brooding themes that don't unfold like typical melodies, but hover and forbode without resolution. "Fanfare" is literally disturbing: It's like the announcement of a new ascension to the throne in the depths of nuclear winter.Isham's horns are perfect for the timeless majesty of these landscapes. He thoroughly avoids Miles Davisesque blues pathos here -- the trumpets are as pregnant with doom as Lande's dark chords. In the middle of the gathering storm, "Sweet Circle" is as lovely a melody as Lande ever composed, played, thankfully, on solo piano. It sounds like something Bill Evans might have written had he survived into the ECM era.A great album, but not for those seeking hot-tub platitudes or a perky good time. Music to make love by it *isn't*."
"New Age" with a minimalist edge
Stephen Hall | Atlanta, Georgia | 03/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's not pretty and sweet enough to be "new age" music, although it's often filed under that unwieldy record-store category. And it's not "world music," either, since its exotic rhythms and structure are rendered through the distinctly Western milieu of trumpet, piano, synthesizer and drums. So the only way I can think to succinctly describe "We Begin," Mark Isham & Art Lande's collaborative 1987 effort, is to say that one can imagine some very cool modern dance pieces being choreographed to the seven gloriously eccentric compositions heard here (the minimalist dance vocabulary of Merce Cunningham in particular comes to mind). I was especially taken with the fifth track, the ten-minute "Surface and Symbol" (the title refers to the function of art as described in Oscar Wilde's introduction to "The Picture of Dorian Gray"). The piece begins with some brooding trumpet work by Isham and gradually evolves into a stirring crescendo of brass, piano and percussion. Then, with most of the instruments creeping into fade-out, the only remaining element is Lande on piano, hauntingly sounding out note after gradual note, evoking an eerie stillness that is both exhilarating and utterly unnerving. This album is for anyone who likes "new age" with a bite (a la Philip Glass or Brian Eno) and without the saccharine ponderings of a Yanni or an Andreas Vollenweider. Whatever genre it belongs to, "We Begin" is a true find."