Bill Bruford / Michiel Borstlap — In Two Minds
(Summerfold BBSF 019CD, 2007, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2009-07-01Drummer Bill Bruford’s desire to pursue an on-going dialog with pianist Michiel Borstlap continues with this live recording across four separate 2006 European gigs. Each piece is an improvisation starting with Borstlap’s engaging approach that draws on tradition and melodic interplay. Bruford is astutely comfortable in the rhythmic role, adding melodic snippets for or against any riff or melodic thrust. “From the Source, We Tumble Headlong” relies on a triggered synth line and pushes into Return to Forever territory with Bruford’s drumming ever so lightly adding tension. “Flirt” could be a fusion era Miles Davis backing track with Borstlap occupying the Jarrett or Corea role and Bruford comping for Billy Cobham or DeJohnette. The dialog is choppy, propelled by Bill’s top kit and snare (his long-time signature). The pensive ballad, “Low Tide, Camber Sands” is just the type of pastel yearning the duo excels with: Bruford’s brushes adding just the sensitive swishy touch. In contrast “The Art of Conversation” encapsulates the whole genus of live interaction – moody and tentative with chordal coloring. “Conference of the Bees” is a Joe Zawinul inspired African theme with the log drum pitter patter, then a nice low end bass line coming in while “Sheer Reckless Abandon” relies on a combustible cowbell structure to create a serpentine wiry piano phrase. Compared to Bruford’s reissued Moraz/Bruford CDs, the drummer’s role here with his collaborator is far more intuitive and rewarding long term.
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.