Exposé Online banner

Spoke of Shadows — II
(Firepool Records FR008, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-12-11

II Cover art

At the time of the first Spoke of Shadows album in 2014, it wasn’t clear if there would be another. The group is a collaboration between two musicians who both have other commitments, so that album could have been a one-off. Happily it was not, and this second release is another great slab of instrumental progressive rock. The focus is slightly different from member Mark Cook’s other band, Herd of Instinct, with a few more non-rock elements incorporated into the mix. The other member, drummer Bill Bachman, has a more aggressive and busy style than is generally heard with HoI, though it doesn’t manifest on every track here. But Spoke of Shadows deserves to be considered as its own thing, not just in comparison with the musicians’ other work. In the balance between heavy sounds and calmness, there’s a wide range, though the bulk will land further to the mellow side, with acoustic sounds, subtle percussion, washes of keyboards, and flute from guest Bob Fisher on three tracks. I’m frequently reminded of Tony Levin’s pre-Stick Men work such as Waters of Eden or Pieces of the Sun. Melodic fretless bass often takes the lead for soaring lines. On “Letting Go” we hear the most unexpected sound on the album — jazzy piano from Shannon Wickline. It’s a little jarring at first, seeming not to fit with the style of the rest of the music, but surprises are what keeps music from being boring, so I’ll give it a thumbs-up. “Face in the Window” presents the other side of the band, with heavy riffs and a guitar solo from guest Michael Harris. It’s valid to draw comparisons with other groups featuring fretless bass prominently, such as Polytown. The production is beautiful, with both presence and depth, and the performances, while not flashy, are impeccable. This group has internalized many of the lessons to be learned from listening to Robert Fripp, Djam Karet, Peter Gabriel, and many more, and reformed them into music that is original and enjoyable.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Spoke of Shadows

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/spokeofshadows2

Latest news

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Alonso Arreloa / LabA - Música Horizontal – One of the big surprises of Baja 2008, Alonso Arreola and his band/project LabA tore up the opening slot at the theater on the first night with his funky 8-string bass maneuverings and avant-garde...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues