Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Cobalt Blue/Live At The Aquarium
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Country, Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Rock
Fantastic electric guitar "new age" or "rock ambient"
Colin R. Glassey | Bay Area, CA USA | 09/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These two records represent the highpoint in Mr. Brook's music. Brook has worked very closely with the whole "Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Danial Lanois" set of experimental modern "rock" musicians. His music has elements of "ambient", elements of "4th world" music, and with a good measure of "rock" thrown in. Cobalt Blue is very largely solo electric guitar. It is a lot like work by Robert Fripp, Steve Tibbetts, and Michael Hedges. It is much less like David Santorini and still less like the "surf guitar" of Dick Dale. The standout "you must listen to these" tracks are: Ultramarine, Urbana, and Lakbossa. Some of the finest electric guitar "soundscapes" ever recorded. The live disc is similar to the studio recording but different enough to be quite interesting to listen to. The live disc really does not sound "live" and in effect it is an alternate take on the version he recorded first. I like them both and I bought both CDs when they were released as independent recordings. For somewhat more detailed comments see my web page [online] -- Colin Glassey"
Very underappreciated artist
Brent A. Anthonisen | Alpharetta, GA, USA | 01/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Generally the field of ambient music is dominated by musicians, producers, and DJ's who are able to coax atmospheric bliss from keyboards and, aside from Talvin Singh's msterful tabla exploits, not much else.
Then there's Michael Brook. Probably the mystery of Michael Brook's anonymity involves his choice of instrument and the music he makes with it. He plays guitar, so he can't be techno-ambient, but he lacks that "granola factor", so he can't be New Age, either. I had first heard of him when I bought "Night Song", an excellent collaboration with the late, great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and one of the finest examples of East/West musical fusion I've ever heard. "Night Song" also utilizes layers of synthesized ambience, but the sound of something called the "Infinite Guitar" is also fairly prevalent (as near as I can tell, the "Infinite Guitar" is either a pet name for Mr. Brook's own customized effects rig, or else it is an electric guitar with no frets on its fingerboard, enabling a wider, "infinite" selction of tonal varieties).
This double CD provides a much more telling glimpse of the guitarist's talent. The chill-out factor alone makes this CD a must-have if you like to listen to music during meditation or other times of introspection. The guitar sound is much more dominant (and more clearly defined) than it was on Mr. Brook's earlier "Hybrid" CD, the sound of which was absolutely saturated with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois' involvement. The studio recordings on the first CD are magnificent, and the live set that appears on the 2nd CD is reminiscent of the The Orb's "Live 93" recording, in that it proves that electronic music performed live does not need to be by definition the pressing of a playback button from a reel-to-reel tape machine...very surprising.
In short, Michael Brook is the maker of very satisfying music; anyone who appreciates ambient electronica and an original guitar sound owes to themselves to give him a listen."
Music for writing, for reading, for drifting off to sleep.
rainbowcrow | 08/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If ratings were measured purely on how often I listen to a record, Cobalt Blue / Live at the Aquarium would be a hands-down 5-star album. Ever since I bought this two CD set a few months back, these discs have spent far more than their share of time in my CD player. Brook's textures and melodies are subtle enough to linger in the background when the consciousness is focused elsewhere, and intricate enough to be interesting beyond mere background. And I certainly cannot complain about the price; for the price of a single album this set offers two which are complentary though not repetitive.And yet I can't bring myself to give this record five stars; it strikes me as beautiful without being brilliant. For the latter, I find myself turning elsewhere. All too often I find myself setting this record aside in favor of something by (modern classical composers) Henryk Gorecki or by Arvo Part; for me, their compositions appeal to a similar mood - music for writing, for reading, for drifting off to sleep - but their records contain a spark of fire that never caught in this one."