If you like up tempo progressive rock you can stop reading this review because it's all about mellow music this time around. October Is Marigold - Electric Chamber Music Vol.3 is the latest release of David Cross and Andrew Keeling. David Cross was active in King Crimson in the 70s, and has regularly provided several albums on his own or with other musicians. Andrew Keeling is a composer, producer and arranger, lecturer at the University of Liverpool and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He is a huge fan of king Crimson and a long time friend of Robert Fripp. He, along with Mark Graham, is the co-author of the book series A Musical Guide to King Crimson. They already collaborated in 2009, when they released their first joint album English Sun, which they performed live several times.
The CD series Electric Chamber Music probably began in 2006 with Unbounded by David Cross and Naomi Maki (piano and voice). This was followed in 2009 by Cross and Keeling's English Sun-Electric Chamber Music-Vol.2. The recordings for October Is Marigold - Electric Chamber Music Vol.3 began in 2009. The album was not completed until 2020 and finally released in 2021. On the album Cross played on the violins and Keeling played on the flutes, guitar and keyboards.
The duo's music is said to be based on improvisation, and yet the two seem to regularly find what they are looking for in their spontaneous search for topics and inspiration. Cross and Keeling constantly swap roles between accompanist and soloist, or solo together, playing around and complementing each other. The soundscapes they create together are not exclusively chamber music, harmony and beauty. Sometimes the tendency to dark experiments comes into its own. In the framework, however, some diversity in the arrangements comes into its own. At times the violin sounds very deep, more reminiscent of a cello. Keeling likes to switch between flute, piano and guitar to play duets with the violinist. Other times he sounds like Eric Satie when he is playing on his piano.
The music on this release is primarily dedicated to the autumnal moods, while English Sun was intended to reflect the summery sensations. In addition to the conventional instruments used, there are occasionally the so-called field recordings, which contain the unadulterated sounds of nature. In addition to the romantic and dark moods, the album offers some autumnal melancholy.
In general, this album is almost an hour of unusual, quite difficult to classify sounds. This is instrumental music for a demanding listener, but it moves the strings of sensitivity and, in its own way, can conjure up the attributes of an autumn landscape. But I certainly think that such playing of these highly experienced musicians will find its way to certain listeners. Especially those listeners who have an open mind, and above all have wide open ears for ambiguous and far from simple solutions of sound, combining elements of different styles.
The album is quite dark, gloomy and depressive, embedded in the structures of modern jazz and contemporary music, cross-over rock. with even oriental influences, with numerous hallmarks of chamber music and a bit of romantic folk with repetitive, often quite monotonous, rhythms. Here and there are elements of progressive rock or traces of jazz-rock.
Judge for yourself is what comes to mind most of the time. This also occurs for October Is Marigold - Electric Chamber Music Vol.3 made by David Cross & Andrew Keeling.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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