Label: Moonjune Records
Playing Time: 46:59
Cat. N°: 00000
Review by: Misha
Dennis Rea is a very prolific guitar player. I guess he also plays all possible instruments that at least a little resemble a guitar. Some of his work we already discussed on this site, see the reviews of Morain and Iron Kim Style. His music with with these bands roots clearly into the western fusion and prog, with almost no deviations to Eastern music, regardless of the name Iron Kim Style, that quite unambiguously suggests the opposite.
“Views from Chicheng Precipice” is absolutely a different cake. It seems that this music is made by a completely different man. Somebody, who grew up listening Chinese folk music, and after that took guitar lessons from Robert Fripp and John McLaughlin. This music is soaked with ancient wisdom, knowledge of forbidden notes and respect for tradition. The magic word here is restraint. The musical tension carefully builds up around a beautiful tune, exotic acoustic instruments and vocal improvisations dominate, creating a mysterious atmosphere somewhere in a gazebo in a Chinese emperor’s garden.
Dennis Rea spent four years of his live in China and Taiwan, playing with the best musicians of this part of the world. In China he is known as a first Western musician who recorded an album for the Chinese State record company.
On “Chicheng” Dennis Rea gives the band an exotic sound by playing such instruments like Naxi jaw harp, melodica, kalimba (a small instrument, also called African piano) and dan bau (Vietnamese monochord).
Besides Dennis, this project is a success due to the collaboration of other wonderful musicians. James Dejoie, Stuart Dempster and John Falconer on wind instruments, Ruth Davidson on cello and Elizabeth Falconer on koto (Japanese string instrument with a very characteristic sound) are very important for the overall sound of the band. Percussion improvisations by Greg Campbell are really astonishing, and vocal parts by Caterina de Re will get your hairs up, I promise.
I will give this astonishing record a 10 from 10 if the music was written by the band itself, instead of using the traditional East Asian melodies.
1. Three Views From Chicheng Precipice (after Bai Juyi)
3. Kan Hai De Re Zi (Days by the Sea)
4. Aviariations on “A Hundred Birds Serenade the Phoenix”
5. Bagua (Eight Trigrams)
Dennis Rea: electric and resonator guitars, melodica, Naxi jaw harp, kalimba, dan bau (Vietnamese monochord);
Alicia Allen: violin;
Greg Campbell: drums, percussion;
Ruth Davidson: cello;
James Dejoie: bass flute, bamboo flute, bass clarinet;
Caterina De Re: voice;
Stuart Dempster: trombone, conch shell;
Will Dowd: drums, percussion;
Elizabeth Falconer: koto;
John Falconer: shakuhachi;
Jay Jaskot: drums;
Paul Kikuchi: percussion;
Kevin Millard: baliset.
on Tuesday 02 November 2010 - 12:13:53