Band Of Rain -
The Dust Of Stars

(CD 2017, 65:11, HollowHill Music)

The tracks:
  1- Gurdjieff(9:01)
  2- Toys(6:31)
  3- Dust Of Stars(6:30)
  4- Across A Starlig Night(7:23)
  5- Ancient Electric(8:44)
  6- Indian Summer(5:18)
  7- Dark Sun(5:44)
  8- Bob(5:44)
  9- Lydian Flight(10:16)

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Band Of Rain consists of long-time band leader Chris Gill (guitar/multi instruments/programming) and Micha Steinbacher (bass, flute, sax, multi instruments, programming, vocals). Two pieces feature the vocals of Ria Parfitt (Toys and Dust Of Stars), the rest of the album is instrumental. Gordo Bennett plays guitar on Ancient Electric and flute on Indian Summer. This is Band Of Rain's fifth album.

We can talk about the music, after we hit the play-button. Slowly the sounds of Gurdjieff come in, as if you were in a film. But what kind of film? It is a true voyage of discovery. After a minute or two the sound of a guitar starts, it swells calmly and takes time. Then the rhythm section starts, but the emphasis remains on the whining guitar part. In my imagination I see two guitarists at the North Pole who are fighting for their souls out loud in the cold. Gradually the guitar disappears into the background and anchors a blissful feeling in your mind. That is how this short film ends for me, delicious.

Then the song Toys starts. Ria Parfitt her emotions coming from the depths of the soul, what a fear is generated here. Boom, the music takes over and your speaker explodes, what a force. The lyrics and music are very similar and the singer has exactly the right voice. All in all a frightening atmosphere, well done.

The song Dust Of Stars is more in the style of Hawkwind, a real spacey song. Then Across A Starlit Night. The first thing that comes to mind is Kitaro, followed by sounds a la Pink Floyd's Welcome To The Machine, including saxophone. This song is so beautiful, atmospheric music with exactly the right feeling. Ancient Electric starts as a quiet improvisation with the guitar of Gordo in the lead. The drums are unfortunately not very surprising here. This song takes too long for me so my attention disappears, too bad.

Indian Summer is a highlight of the album for me. You are immediately drawn into the music by spacey keyboard sounds, followed by oriental instrumentation. A smile appears on your face, blissful.

The music of the song Dark Sun could have been from Kitaro. Halfway through the song comes Jean Michel Jarre and takes over the keyboard. In my opinion this is a redundant number.

I would not know who Bob is or what it means, but the music is cinematic, ominous and threatening, what a wonderful song. The song is bursting at the seams due to the guitar sounds. You're left gasping for breath. One of the nicest songs for me.

Lydian Flight takes too long for me, the music lags too much. The strings really do something, but do not save the song.

If I make up the balance for this album, there are strong, good and less good songs. The styles of music vary from ambient to guitar music, from spacey Hawkwind to Kitaro. A lot to discover, but in my humble opinion there are too many different styles. Otherwise, it is superb that you can create so much diverse music in only 65 minutes. That means that my appreciation comes to 3 stars.

*** Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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