Deborah Martin — Under the Moon
(Spotted Peccary SPM-0504, 1996/2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 1996-03-01:
An album based on the twilight-to-dawn theme, Deborah Martin’s Under the Moon shines with an impressionistic delicacy supported by a lush backdrop of multi-synths, textural electric guitars, and acoustic guitar. The overall sound is warm and romantic, full of gradual transitions, like a vignette that frames the bursts of melodic color in a pastel cloak of dreaminess. “Gray Sky” features Apache poetry narrated by Edgar Perry, followed by an English translation sung by Martin, but the balance of the album is entirely instrumental. Tony Levin of King Crimson fame, contributes bass on two of the tracks, and Jenkins and Lackey contribute native American drums and flute to one other. “Nymphea (Water Lilies)” plants a simple and straightforward piano melody in a thick forest of floating symphonic keyboard orchestrations, resulting in one of the album’s most memorable tunes. Using three guitars, bass and synths, “Rainbow Man” paints a powerful image vaguely reminiscent of parts of Lanz and Speer’s “Desert Vision”. Overall, this is probably the most subtle and dreamlike of all the Spotted Peccary releases to date.
by Paul Hightower, 2015-07-20:
Many listeners have a love/hate relationship with the New Age genre, but if you’re a fan then this one is probably already in your collection. If not, it should be. Under the Moon was originally released during New Age’s heyday, and Deborah Martin was one of Spotted Peccary’s early stars. Several guests make appearances, including Jon Jenkins (percussion) and Tony Levin (bass), though it’s clearly Martin’s singular vision that guides each of the ten tracks. The title provides a literal description of the thematic idea behind each piece, starting with “Twilight” and ending with “Before Dawn” and encompassing many moods tied to nocturnal experiences set in the American southwest (complete with Native American topics and musical references). Martin does a nice job making sure the musical themes fit the subject, from “Night’s Shadows” vocal evocation of coyote howls to the orchestral majesty of “Midnight.” Perhaps the most memorable track is “Gray Sky,” that first features a recitation of a Martin poem in the Apache tongue followed by Martin singing the prose. Sonically the album is of its time with lots of breathy synths, airy textures, and digital woodwinds (with guitar, bass, and percussion providing additional color). The keyboard timbres occasionally have a dated quality to them, plus I have a hard time detecting any sonic improvement in the production. But for the most part the collection gels nicely and still does a good job transporting the listener to a time and place that calms the soul and fires the imagination.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Larry Coryell / Badi Assad / John Abercrombie - Three Guitars – Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie have long been at the forefront of international jazz guitar, utilizing both acoustic and electric formats. Badi Assad is a Brazilian ace performer who had not... (2004) » Read more
Jon Rose - The Hyperstring Project (New Dynamic of Rogue Counterpoint) – I’m not even going to try to explain how this music was made – check out the web site for details. Just take it as given that Jon Rose has created a monster with violin ancestry, and... (2001) » Read more