Black September — Black September
(Mellow MMP 264, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
Black September is a four piece from Trenton led by keyboardist Michael West (of "God Sex Money" fame), the instrumentation consisting of violin, sax, and drums, with bass duties shared by violist/lead vocalist Jason Harper and reedsman Freddy Lutz. No guitars. Interesting then, that this is produced by Mastermind's axeman Bill Berends. The album kicks off with a mind-blowing thirteen minute monster called "Bellicose Agenda," and frankly, if the rest of the album met the standard of the first track, we'd have a pretty solid album here. But by the second track, "Freeze," and especially the third, "Forever Winter," it becomes painfully clear that Harper isn't up to the task of lead singer. Then we're treated to an instrumental – an excellent composition spoiled by lifeless drumming and way too much keyboard presence. "The Glen by Afton" almost gets everything back on track, it's clearly the most accessible and well-arranged song here, yet the vocals still drop it down a notch. The closing instrumental "Beast in Plain View" drives home the band's best tendencies – tight twists and turns, intricate complexities, flashy keys, and full band participation. Black September is a band with potential, and hopefully a second album will smooth out some of the rough edges that prevent this from being as good as it could be.
Related artist(s): Black September
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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.