Caravan — The Battle of Hastings
(HTD CD 41, 1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01
A reunion of the line-up which brought you For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night (1973) , and The Album (1880), here comes another by a group which has evolved into a well-honed pop/song crafted niche. This disc will be disappointing for some fans who yearn for blistering instrumental break, soaring viola solos and band interplay. But broad comparisons can be made the excellent Back to Front (1982) which had some pretty good songs and arrangements. Pye Hasting’s songwriting, which has always been pretty MOR (if you really look closely at his work as far back as The Wilde Flowers) is the major showcase of the album. Missing is the obvious counterbalance provided by another R. Sinclair whom always seems to appear for a few albums and then go his own way. Nice to hear Geoff Richardson’s soothing viola passages (as on "Somewhere in Your Heart") and Jimmy Hastings too (adding closing solo flute to the same track). The new member is Jim Leverton, who doesn’t seem to produce much of a presence except of Dave Sinclair’s "Traveling Ways" where he serves up a very so-so lead vocal. Overall, The Battle of Hastings is another in a long line of well played/well performed songs which need just a little more spice to make the broth less samey and more memorable.
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more