Exposé Online banner

Ancient Future — Asian Fusion
(Narada Equinox ND-63023, 1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-02-01

Asian Fusion Cover artAround 1980, Ancient Future released two excellent albums of acoustic world-music, the second of which (Natural Rhythms) remains a landmark of the genre, with its surreal eccentricity and sonic experimentation, which even included live improvisations with Balinese rice-paddy frogs! The band then disappeared for some five years, then reappeared as a very typical new-age four piece, with Matthew Montfort (guitars) being the only surviving member of the original three-piece lineup. Their 'new' sound only contained vague references to what they once were all about, and lacked any real distinction. Several more albums were released, and none of them seemed to foster much of the original brilliance of those formative years... that is, until now. On Asian Fusion, the latest release, they have finally recaptured the spirit of their earliest endeavors, while dispensing with a lot of the new-age blandness that has clearly marred their more recent efforts. Part of it is no doubt due to the extensive use of guest musicians, also a staple of the early albums - but beyond that, they are making conscious moves into some new directions, the results being truly credible and cohesive, rather than the sometimes-academic attempts typically offered by other artists in the genre. In addition to Montfort, the core lineup now includes Ian Dogole (percussion), Jim Hurley (violin), and Doug McKeehan (keyboards), with Bill Douglass (bass) featured on almost every track. The album's twelve tracks offer a variety of perspectives, from the upbeat jazz-meets-Japanese-traditional "Bookenda (the Adventurer)" to the tranquil Javanese gamelan-styled "Sunda Straits," the compositions throughout this set are inspired, and the playing is tight, eloquent and well focused - overall this is a very worthwhile album, and a welcome return to form for the band.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 2, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Ancient Future

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Edgar Froese - Ages – I know what you may be thinking: Froese's parent group hit the skids ten years ago. But have no fear as Ages is a 1978 classic-TD-era release. So where's all the rejoicing? I feel pretty silly myself....  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues