As close to an Ian Bairnson solo album as there has yet to b
Parrish A. Highley | Somewhere I've Never Travelled | 09/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I liked the stereo version of On Air, I absolutely LOVE it in surround! There are a lot of really good surround presentations out there like Roxy Music's Avalon and the Gabriel era Genesis 1970-1975 box set, but, hands down, this is the single best surround product you can buy! With the exception of an excerpt from President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's famous 25 May 1961 exhortation to send a man to the moon that occupies the center channel, is a quadraphonic presentation. Four identical speakers at ear level will yeild an uncanny level of immersion within the surround field.
But what really takes this to an entirely new level is that the quadraphonic imaging enhances the very mood of the music itself. While gentle and atmospheric songs like "Too Close To The Sun" and "Blown By The Wind" sound as if the movement of winds envelop the listener, the imaging of "Apollo" is so charged and staggering that I am convinced this is THE test of a surround system. Even the completely restrained imaging, by comparison, of "Brother Up In Heaven" succeeds in spades as it leaves the emotional purity of Ian Bairnson's lost cousin, Erik Mounsey, intact.
While On Air is as subtle and nuanced musically as Try Anything Once was dynamic, it really is every bit as good if given a fair chance. The guitar work on "Blown By The Wind" and "Cloudbreak" is arguably the finest that virtuoso Ian Bairnson has ever recorded. This album struggled to garner the audience it so richly deserved upon release, but the devotion it has subsequently earned from that audience is both heartfelt and completely justified!
(As an aside, I whole-heartedly recommend investigating the work of PILOT as they were the band that became the rhythm section of The Project. There are several different compilations available here, but, personally, I am partial to Two's a Crowd and, especially, Blue Yonder.)"