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Steve Howe - Voyagers CD (album) cover

VOYAGERS

Steve Howe

 

Crossover Prog

2.36 | 14 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The whales and dolphins of Switzerland

This 1995 release is actually credited as a collaboration between Steve Howe and Swiss born keyboard player, guitarist and composer Paul Sutin. The line up is competed by keyboard player Mike Marshall and drummer (and Yes remixer!) Dylan Howe, son of Steve. This was the second collaboration between Howe and Sutin, and while the contributions are more evenly balanced than on "Seaphim", Sutin remains slightly the more dominant influence.

The tracks were mostly conceived by Sutin working alone in Switzerland, where he recorded the majority of his parts first. Howe and the other contributors then added their contributions with Howe being heavily involved in the final mixing. The album was originally to be called "Voyagers in the blue universe", the music being inspired by dolphins. It was decided though that since similar themes were being used by other artists, the dolphins link would be played down.

It is hard to classify the music here. The easy option is to simply place it in the new age category, and to do so might be convenient but it would also be highly misleading. What we hear is certainly soothing and pleasant to listen to, but there are subtle complexities in the arrangements and the performances which make for what is actually a very interesting album. Take for example the guitar work on "Sanctuary", which stands alongside much of what Steve has done with Yes over the years, while revealing a jazz orientation he seldom allows to come to the fore. Howe also demonstrates the diversity of his talents on "Quantum leap" and "Pied Piper", where he plays keyboards.

"Fantasia for fins" (the fins being those of the aforementioned dolphins) is rather different to the rest of the tracks an the album, as the piece has a much more defined upbeat rhythm. The overall feel remains smooth, but the track features brass like keyboards and some intricate Santana like guitar work.

The final tracks (on the Armoury release) continue the oceans/whales/dolphins theme through "Sonar call" and "Ocean light". "Sonar call" is very oceanic, conjuring appropriate pictures in the mind as the symphonic keyboards mingle with the sounds of the sea. Once again, the feel is new age, but the music is so much more than that.

In all, a very enjoyable and relaxing album which blends the compositional strengths of Pual Sutin with his diverse talents and those of the legendary Steve Howe. While the main interest in this release will undoubtedly be through Steve's association with Yes, there is little overlap between his work with that band and what is to be heard here.

The 2000 re-release of the albums sees the track order revised by Steve Howe to "introduce a soothing element earlier in the album". This does indeed seem to improve things, the album building subtly from start to finish.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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