Syd Arthur — Moving World
(Dawn Chorus DCRC001, 2011, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-06-24Even though they already had a couple EPs and singles under their belts, Moving World is considered UK psych merchants Syd Arthur’s first proper release. It’s actually a “maxi-EP” type of thing with only five songs, but it’s all you need to know to see where this Canterbury quartet was headed. The band — Liam Magill (guitar, vocals), Raven Bush (mandolin, violin, keys), Joel Magill (bass), and Fred Rother (drums) — create a mix of rock, blues, folk and psych that looks fondly back to the late 60s sound of bands like Jethro Tull but with a modern twist and uniquely personal identity. Phillip Barnes’ flute on “Planet of Love” brings the comparison to Tull a bit too close for comfort, though it’s the only flaw in the collection. Otherwise the vibe is utterly fresh, aided by recordings that sound as if the band is playing live in front of you. There’s also a looseness and spontaneity in the performances that belies the attention to detail and precision required to pull them off. Liam's hippie poetry and free-form melodicism have always been a signature of Syd Arthur’s sound, as proven here. But as an instrumental unit the band have also always enjoyed a telepathic connection that powers the jams, whether backing Raven’s mandolin soloing on “Pulse,” or when driving the Santana-ish tour de force “Hermethio.” Sadly, Moving World is hard to come by these days, but the band still sells it at their shows. Now you have even more reason to catch them live.
Related artist(s): Syd Arthur
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
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