Grand General — Grand General
(Rune Grammofon RCD2139, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-23With the first couple tracks on this, Grand General's debut album, one could certainly be forgiven for thinking these were some lost out-takes from The Inner Mounting Flame, with their gritty fusion style, blistering jams, and violin at the fore. But the remaining four cuts by this Norwegian quintet will both underscore the Mahavishnu similarities, and also provide the listener with more evidence of the band's compositional originality, spirited cohesion, and superb playing. Track three is ample proof that the band is not only about pedal to the metal fusion, but also some gentle, almost pastoral moments, trace folk underpinnings, and occasional avant-garde flights. There's a lot going on here, and the more one listens to this, the more of those qualities are revealed. But in all endeavors here, melody reigns supreme, driven by forceful violin, a versatile keyboard presence at all levels, with powerful support from bass and drums, guitar occupying the middle ground and contributing to all aspects of their purely instrumental attack. With a debut album this powerful, how are they possibly going to top it on their sophomore release? I guess we'll have to wait and see. But for now, there's plenty here on their opening salvo to please even the most adventurous listeners.
Related artist(s): Grand General
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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.