Portland-based ambient progressive rock project Echo Us know how to get in your head and never leave. Fronted by Ethan Matthews’ the subtle flows and heightened builds ups dance through your senses and refuse to leave, in a good way. New album The Windsong Spires continues this theme but also adds in vocals from Charlotte Engler to great effect…
Gorgeous, bell-like production, assisted by this Canadian singer, is just one reason to love this album. Her big voice is mixed out in front, but the instruments aren't lost. Sounds bubble up, leave an impression and vanish, having done their job. The strong tunes, all written by the singer, roll on one after the after, showcasing her irrepressible optimism. "Strength in Numbers," "What You Believe," "Act of Mercy" and "Innocent (With an Explanation)" stand out in a strong lineup. Kenny G guests on a powerful "How Many," produced by Narada Michael Walden. Even the classy cover art, showing an elongated Luba reaching for the sky, contributes to the overall package. If you love Paul Young or Simply Red, check this out.
A varied soundtrack album that manages to weave in a little variation from the traditional type of motion picture scoring indulged in here by Sakamoto. Part of the reason for the variation is that only twelve of the album's 21 tracks are by Sakamoto – several are source music, others were composed by Richard Horowitz. The diversity thus makes for a more interesting album than might have been had from variations on the main minor-key "Sheltering Sky" theme (presented here in orchestrated and piano-based versions.) It also breaks away from the sound of Sakamoto's recordings, strong material that suffers from a certain digital harshness in the strings. Horowitz' part in this is in stepping away from traditional Western scoring and using Middle Eastern elements for score structures – something that's very effective indeed on "Fever Ride" with its blend of Moroccan and Spanish elements. Where Sakamoto easily sketches panorama with his music, Horowitz sketches in mystery. The local source music, too, adds to this, giving the album a grounding in the real world that completes the overall structure. An excellent album that can easily be recommended for more than just soundtrack aficionados.
Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) is a jazz album by Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny, two musicians who come from Missouri. The album was released by Verve Records on February 25, 1997. At the 40th Grammy Awards, they were awarded (Haden's first and Metheny's tenth) the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.