Mark Fry — South Wind, Clear Sky
(Second Language Music SL032P, 2014, CD / LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-12-12In 1971 a 20-year old Brit painter and musician Mark Fry released a single obscure album, Dreaming with Alice, of acid-folk music that over the years achieved cult status. So much so that 37 years later Mark returned to music and has remained active since. South Wind, Clear Sky is his third full-length album since his return. Along the way, in Fruits de Mer’s early days, they recruited Mark to release 7-inch in 2009, which sold out almost immediately. On South Wind, Clear Sky Mark composed eight new songs, some inspired by the life of Antoine de St. Exupéry (philosopher, aviator, and author of Le Petit Prince). The song “River Kings” draws on the writings of Scottish explorer Mungo Park and Mark’s experience living in the Inner Niger delta during the early 80s. The album title comes from an 1830 woodblock print of Mount Fuji created by Hokusai. The result is a set of semi-melancholy songs similar in feel to Leonard Cohen’s early work. There are also some similarities to Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour — Mark’s music is like a folkier Pink Floyd. Songs that impressed me were “Along the Way” with its “Space Oddity” vibe and chorus drawing comparisons to the American folk classic “Oh Shenandoah;” “Leave Me Alone,” a beautiful and graceful song with catchy phrasing and lyrics; and the closing track “Long Way Down” that is the only song featuring a piano on this disc. South Wind, Clear Sky is a pleasurable respite from the raucous music demanding our attention these days.
Related artist(s): Mark Fry
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
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
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more