Hugh Hopper & Alan Gowen — Two Rainbows Daily
(Cuneiform Rune 77, 1978/1995, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1996-03-01
Another example of re-issue heaven? This album is (to my knowledge) the only bass / keyboard duet album made from a Canterbury link (Gilgamesh / Soft Machine). Originally released in the UK/USA in 1978, it found its way into semi-obscurity almost immediately upon release. Another fine album of jazz improvisation which showcases harmonic and compositional sensitivity (probably the trademark of all Canterbury releases). Rhythm on the original eight songs is primarily held down by a slow, calculated interaction between keyboards and fuzz bass lines: no busy flash playing here. "Morning Order" has a very subtle synth intro alternating with crisp, restrained bass playing, two layers of keyboards building a slow, sedate atmosphere — Gowen's stamp on nearly all his work. The title track is probably the only truly bright, optimistic moment on the disc; featured is Gowen's acoustic piano, underpinned by drone-like Moog tones, and a nice wandering bass chart. "Elibom" is also a standout counterpoint piece, one of my favorite of all Hopper compositions. An additional five bonus tracks have been added onto the disc which comprise live performances from September 1980 made with Nigel Morris, drums (ex-Isotope, along with Hopper). These pieces are live tracks that show how well this trio could interplay off each other without getting too free. Also included are brand new liner notes by Hopper that help shed some more light on the workings of Gowen and cohorts at the this time. A closing note: according the Stewart / Gaskin website, this is disc was re-released almost exactly at the same time as another select Gowen project: Before a Word Is Said (also reviewed in this issue). Enjoy!
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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.