Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Review - Upstream

Geoff Leigh and Yumi Hara


Review by Gary Hill

Fans of RIO (Rock In Opposition) should like this album. It’s very freeform and a lot of it is dissonant. I’d even consider some of it jarring. Personally, a lot of it isn’t my thing – I’m not a huge fan of RIO, but for those who are into the genre, it’s going to be well received.

Track by Track Review

The flute on this certainly calls up comparisons to Jethro Tull, but this is far mellower and more classical in nature and yet there’s also some definite King Crimson in the midst here.

Mountain Laughs
Keyboard sounds bring this in dark and rather like horror movie music. The flute again makes me think of Tull. This is perhaps closer to “rock” music.

The first half of this is basically a noisy, riotous piano solo that at times calls to mind Keith Emerson. As other instruments, join, though, it becomes a screaming, wailing jazz journey that’s quite freeform and dissonant.

Stone of the Beach
This one is really weird. The music is sparse and spacey and it has vocals. They are plaintive and a little abrasive, but also pretty. This is very much a piece of performance art.

Short Night
Piano based, this is very dissonant and strange. 

At the Temple Gate
Just flute and voice, this is exceptionally strange and unsettling. It’s not pretty by any means and feels like it has transported you to some alternate horror movie dimension. This is another that’s definitely performance art. 

Something About the Sky
In a lot of ways this is similar to the last piece, but instead of flute we have something that feels a lot like throat singing.

Dolphin Chase
Spacey and jazz, this one is quite cool – at least early on. It moves into more weirdness – not that different from the last couple tracks as it continues, though. In fact, the last section is amongst the strangest music on show with weird sounds like 60 cycle hum ruling the day.

Siren Returns
This is more melodic and less free form than the last several pieces. I like this a lot more.

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