Exposé Online banner

Schwartzarbeit — James Gordon's Story
(FGBG 4094.AR, 1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-05-01

James Gordon's Story Cover artAn entirely instrumental concept album about a burned out musician who spends his life indoors in boredom, and eventually works through it all with a fresh approach to his music. Not a very elaborate concept, but it does indeed represent the flow of the music on this brand new album by this German band that hasn't been heard from since the late 70s. The band is a four piece (guitar/keys/bass/drums) and the basic sound here is very melodic and lush, with some guitar pyrotechnics and other diversions - perhaps comparable to Camel at times. The compositions are not difficult, speedy, or particularly complex - and for some listeners who demand a high degree of complexity in the music, this may be a minus - but its strength lies more in melodics and generally tasty arrangements that tend to make for excellent listening that is at once progressive, visionary and satisfying on many levels. The album opens with "Non-Stop Movies," a funky bottom-heavy track with a simple guitar line and some pyrotechnic outbursts of Hackett-esque lead with symphonic keys backing. Two more tracks are a bit more low key, primarily keyboard driven, and musically relate a long period of depression in Gordon's life. The album changes gears at track four: "A Summer Holiday Film" is a two-part acoustic guitar based adventure with light keyboards backing, with a simple yet embracing melody line - like a children's song - reminiscent of Anthony Phillips or even Leo Kottke. With "The Change of an Internal Idea" things really start moving, with a more powerful approach, representing Gordon's soul-searching. "The Outburst" is a bit more accessible, with its very repetitive beat and few breaks, yet in this writer's mind is probably the weakest track on the album overall. One more acoustic guitar based track ("The Silent Fields After") leads in to "The Finale," a slow building wall of keys and searing guitar leads that may remind of Meddle period Floyd. Three bonus tracks are included, two solo based pieces and a very strange, heavily distorted guitar track. In all, a good album that most should enjoy.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 3, 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Schwarzarbeit

Latest news

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Frogg Café - Bateless Edge – New York’s Frogg Café has released one of the most interesting albums of the year with Bateless Edge. This is a 77-minute CD with eight songs ranging from five to 14 minutes, three of which...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues