Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart — Earth Born
(Voiceprint VP431CD, 2008, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-10-01
Some may remember Wishart from her brief tenure as a member of Hawkwind in the early 90s (she was featured on the Space Bandits studio album, and the live Palace Springs and Live at Nottingham 1990 two-disc set); I believe it’s the only time that Hawkwind has featured a female singer, at least on recordings. On Earth Born, she joins the Spirits Burning crew (which includes mainstays Don Falcone and Daevid Allen, as well as Hawkwind alums Simon House, Richard Chadwick, and Alan Davey, among literally dozens of other contributors) offering vocals, lyrics and some melodies. For this outing, Spirits Burning seems a far more song-oriented and compositionally structured entity, even embracing touches of folk and pop here and there, than their more usual freewheeling jammy space-rock tribal sound, although the arrangements still involve many of those sonic trappings, which keeps the disc engaging from beginning to end. Wishart’s child-like, frequently treated vocals and space whispers may be a make-or-break for some listeners, but in the context or this musical setting, it suits it perfectly. Since the whole Spirits Burning concept is that of a studio project of long distance collaborations, the chance of a live performance of this is next to nil; still, it would be great to see some of this material performed live. Hopefully this SB-Wishart joint project is not a one-off; I would certainly like to hear more from where this came from.
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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.