Blue Cranes — Swim
(Cuneiform Rune 364, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-06-12Perhaps it's a good thing that I've never heard anything by Blue Cranes before; I can approach this release with a fresh perspective and open mind, with no previous baggage to carry along. But it needs to be said that this is the Portland, Oregon based band's fourth full length release. The first thing that jumps out at the listener is the dual-sax front line of Reed Wallsmith and Joe Cunningham on alto and tenor respectively. Their purpose through most of the nine tracks here is a disciplined dedication to melody, and not a lot of free blowing solos. This is jazzy at times, sometimes very much so, but it's not jazz in the classic sense, but a touch more chamber in nature with some jazzy embellishments. Oh, and did I mention that it rocks? Oh yeah, at times it sure does, but the band is void of guitars; instead, all that middle ground is handled by the piano and keyboards of Rebecca Sanborn; and the rhythm section of Keith Brush (acoustic bass) and Ji Tanzer (drums) ties it all together nicely with a busy everpresence that supports the effort but doesn't overwhelm the sound. Their compositions (most by Cunningham and Wallsmith) offer sincere melodic strength and emotion that one can take away from the listen, and they vary in timbre, scope, and style enough to keep this interesting all the way through. Just when the train is about to fly off the tracks, they'll calm it down with a gentle pastoral piece that puts it all in perspective. This is a disc that begs for repeat plays.
Related artist(s): Blue Cranes
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more