Exposé Online banner

Dave Bainbridge — Celestial Fire
(Open Sky CD 18, 2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-03-31

Celestial Fire Cover artOne can probably use the old metaphor about the acorn not falling far from the tree when describing this latest effort by Dave Bainbridge, probably better known to many as a founding member of Iona, where he plays a good number of instruments (keyboards, all sorts of things with strings) and is responsible for much of that band’s compositions. Celestial Fire is his second solo album, the first since 2004’s excellent Veil of Gossamer, and it’s fairly safe to say that anyone who enjoyed that, and the many albums by Iona will find plenty to enjoy herein. This is a long disc, double album length at around 74 minutes, with lengthy symphonic pieces that work together as an extended epic with recurring themes, featuring angelic voices, spiritual Christian lyrics, Celtic folk-rock, and a stronger nod to the classic adventurous progressive rock sound than Iona might normally provide. While Bainbridge does sing some of the backing vocals, he has brought in a number of different singers to handle lead vocal duties, including Yvonne Lyon, Damian Wilson (Landmarq, Threshold), Sally Minnear, and Julia Malyasova, track depending. All of the former plus more contribute backing vocals as well on other cuts, plus a large cast of players contribute on all the instruments that Bainbridge doesn’t play himself (that would include bass, Moog Taurus pedals, drums, percussion, violin, viola, cello, uillean pipes, tin whistle, flute, saxes and more) including many of his colleagues from Iona. From beginning to end this is a continuum of ever-evolving compositions and stunning arrangements, making for a powerful and panoramic production that pulls out all the stops and pulls the listener in. It’s clear that a lot of work went in to creating this, and it succeeds on every level.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Dave Bainbridge

Latest news

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pere Ubu - Dub Housing – I recall when I first heard this LP, I was honestly paralyzed by the discordant synthesizer which underpinned a Velvet Underground groove on the first track. There was vocalist David Thomas and his...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues