Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Shades of Asia
Troy | the Netherlands | 08/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From listening to this 1994 solo effort it is plain as day that John Wetton did not intend to break new ground, or experiment in any way, shape or form. Furthermore it is unmistakable that the former King Crimson/UK/Asia lead vocalist/bass player had lost none of his edge, neither in the quality of his songwriting nor in the manner in which these songs are performed. In fact, when considering all of the albums he has been involved in making, i would say that "Voice mail" a.k.a. "Battle lines" may very well be the pinnacle of his career as a recording artist.John Wetton's forceful, hallmark voice with its inherent flair for the dramatic will unavoidably evoke memories of Asia, the band that people presumably will be most familiar with. As such it is useful reference material. "Voice mail" is not nearly as bombastic or over the top as Asia's (in)famous debut, although not as ballad oriented and unadventurous as "Alpha". In comparison to the overblown "Astra" its songs are more compact, enriching the AOR/melodic rock approach of "Aria" with an unparalleled clarity of sound, thanks to a superb, precise production by Ron Nevison (and mix by Chris Lord-Alge). (While "AOR" and "a commercial sound" are believed to be mutually exclusive, or even a contradiction in terms, "Voice mail" may be one of those exceptions for which both do apply.) Supporting John Wetton (bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards) on this album are an extraordinary group of renowned guest musicians and assorted artistic talent. Six tracks were composed together with Bob Marlette, who was also responsible for additional keyboards (along with a.o. Claude Gaudette), grand piano (along with Robbie Buchanan) and synthesizer programming. Among the remaining contributing composers were Bob Mitchell, Bruce Turgon and Simon Phillips (also on drums). Michael Landau and Steve Lukather can be heard on guitars, as can former King Crimson colleague Robert Fripp.There is an incredible fluency about the songs on "Voice mail", as if the music almost wrote itself. The melodies flow to perfection, every note seemingly in its proper place. Each of the 10 tracks will measure up to the harshest scrutiny. If i were to rate them individually, the "weakest" song on the album would not concede more than half a point to the strongest. Due to this remarkable consistency, it may prove a difficult task to select the greatest tracks, since all of them are such obvious winners. Off the top of my head i would say that "Battle lines" (theme song to the "Chasing the deer" movie soundtrack), "Jane" (with its pumping keyboards), the melodramatic "Crime of passion", "Sand in my hand" and the formidable "Space and time" (co-written by Survivor's Jim Peterik) are the pick of the bunch. But i'll gladly leave it up to you to choose your own. Asia fans around the world (and i ain't talkin' Carrera !) need not think twice before adding "Voice mail"/"Battle lines" to their collection. Everyone else would be wise to follow their example. You might also wanna look for Martin Darvill's "Greatest show on earth" CD with a significant John Wetton guest appearance."