Steve Tibbetts — Yr
(ECM 1355, 1980/1988, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2015-11-05
McLatchey's Second Tier
Before ECM got ahold of this and stuck one of their generic covers on it, Steve Tibbetts' second album had a much more cool independent vibe to it, which I think was quite fitting with what a true original he is. In many ways his albums of the time sort of predated the "solo guitar with accompaniment albums" that Windham Hill types like Will Ackerman and Michael Hedges would produce, but Tibbetts' work was far more interesting, experimental and edgy even if the base of the music was sort of a pairing of his acoustic guitar work with Marc Anderson's incredibly creative percussion. Add a bit of Mellotron in a few spots to give it some atmosphere and you have one of the most singular albums of the era with a wide range of dynamics and moods from the intense to the incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately even the ECM CD is out of print these days and the LP has appreciated, meaning one would have to get clever to hear it, but it's well worth it. There are several moments on this that give me goosebumps like nothing else.
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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.