Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Airbridge — Memories of Water
(Bandcamp Voon VN001CD, 2021, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-11-09
Take a trip in the wayback machine to the UK in the early 80s, to the birth of the so called “neo-progressive” movement, where such bands as Pallas, Marillion, Solstice, iQ, and others played venues like the Marquee on a regular basis. Dig a little deeper and one will find a bunch of bands in that scene that barely got off the ground, like Third Quadrant (just to name one), though those that were persistent and willing to wait their turn might eventually get a chance. Airbridge was one such band; they played the Marquee with the best of them, and released one album, Paradise Moves, in 1982 on a hopelessly obscure record label that only released three records, the other two being 45s by a couple other artists. A year later the band released a cassette EP and a 45RPM and then they were done — or so it seemed. One of the band’s founding members was Italian expat guitarist, keyboardist, and singer Lorenzo Bedini, living in England at the time. Four other members came and went as fast as the LP and single disappeared, Bedini as well, but after decades of composing new material, he put the band back together in 2012 with drummer Dave Dowdeswell-Allaway (formerly the band's sound man) and original bassist Sean Godfrey (who was replaced by Matt Gamble shortly after), they recorded a four-song EP titled Return, released in 2013. With Bedini’s persistence, and Dowdeswell-Allaway still on board (now including guitars and bass in addition to drums), two new members — keyboardist Jason Compton (a Brit) and Italian flutist Maddalena Pastorelli — have joined, making Airbridge a quartet once again, two Italians now living in Italy, and two British members living in the UK. Working remotely during the worldwide Covid pandemic, they have produced the new full-length, eleven song album, Memories of Water. While the new album features excellent compositions and arrangements, the production is noticeably thin and the low register vocals are sometimes too lost in the mix to be truly effective, although the fact that they pulled this off at all with the distance between the members and over such a long period of time is nothing short of commendable. There are some serious standouts, like the Eastern themed “Buddha Song,” the beautifully folky prog epic “Canterbury Kate,” the captivating closer “Middle East,” and the anthemic “New England” that cycles through a number of changes throughout its six-minute duration. Hopefully next time they can all get together in one place with a skilled producer to bring out the best in the band’s sound.
Related artist(s): Airbridge
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