Arlo Bigazzi / Claudio Chianura / Lance Henson — Drop 6: The Wolf & The Moon
(Materiali Sonori MASO CD 90123, 2001, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2002-09-01
The three artists listed above are only the tip of the iceberg; collaborators on this project include Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree), Roger Eno, No-Man, Hector Zazou, and many more. The reason it is credited as such appears to be that the basis for this album was 1999’s Another Train Ride, a Materiali Sonori release by Bigazzi, Chianura, and Henson involving the readings of a Cheyenne poet about wars past and present. Having not heard that album, there is less context with which to approach Drop 6, but so it goes. Drop 6 is a series of re-interpretations/re-mixes of material from Another Train Ride by an extensive list of artists, including those mentioned above. This music is steeped in modern electronica, with instrumental parts on guitar, synths, trumpet, and so on swept up into a maze of samples (instrumental and vocal) and beats, with a pretty chill tempo and vibe overall. What I can make out from the lyrics seems a bit on the cheesy side to be honest; I’m not sure if this is authentic Cheyenne poetry or not, but regardless, its all a bit hokey and heavy-handed. The musical vibe is uniform in its laid-back nature; without the manic energy of Squarepusher or the brutality of Autechre. Without more variety, there isn’t a lot with which to actively engage and challenge the listener, and as such the whole thing comes off as somewhat unremarkable.
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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.