Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Review - Upstream

Geoff Leigh & Yumi Hara - Upstream (CD, Moonjune, Progressive)

Upstream is an album aimed at listeners with an open mind. Geoff Leigh plays/uses a variety of things on this album including flute, soprano sax, zither, percussion, nose flute (?), voice drone, and electronics while Yumi Hara plays keyboards and sings. Leigh is probably best known as an early member of the British progressive band Henry Cow and also played in the bands Slapp Happy and Hatfield and the North. Hara was/is in the band Frank Chickens and also acts as a DJ under the name Anakonda. Anyone even slightly familiar with any of these other bands will have some idea of what to expect here which is...the unexpected. Upstream is a bizarre collection of tracks that go all over the place. Fans of the previously mentioned Henry Cow will find a lot to love here. Leigh still composes tunes that could almost fall into the modern classical category...but threads of popular music remain intertwined. Some of the tracks are more musical than others...while others are more experimental in nature. Yumi's strange dreamy vocals add a particularly odd element to these proceedings. Nine heady cuts including "Upstream," "Stone of the Beach," "Dolphin Chase," and "The Siren Returns."

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