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Jade Warrior - Last Autumn's Dream  CD (album) cover

LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM

Jade Warrior

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.55 | 76 ratings

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Trotsky
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Jade Warrior of Last Autumn's Dream is in general a different beast from the New Age/World Music pioneer that it would soon become. To call this work eclectic is to give it too much credit, for it is basically disjointed and imbalanced (which is rather surprising considering that this is the group's third album). Ultimately this record is most notable for some early, if frequently heavy-handed, attempts at the fusion of contrasting musical traditions.

At its best, though, the music of Tony Duhig and Jon Field (this was bassist Glyn Harvard's swan song) can be quite engaging. A Winter's Tale is a hippy campfire song, a sort of union between the Kinks and the earliest Yes material. And the instrumental Dark River has a mournful solo from Field (on some wind instrument I can't identify) that is a real sign of the direction that they would triumphantly embark upon in the future. With its shifting moods and arresting ethnic experimentation, it is by far the most interesting track here.

Some of the pieces are interesing without working that well. Lady Of The Lake uses the melodic inflections of traditional Chinese music, but the ethnic instruments sit uncomfortably alongside the organ washes. May Queen too is a match of ethnic percussion and roots rock, evolving into something resembling jazz-funk, before first flutes, then vibes, then Santana-like guitar lead conclude the piece. The final track Borne On The Solar Wind does echo the melody of A Winter's Tale, but it's too little, too late in terms of giving this album a semblance of cohesion.

Because when this album is bad, it can really be quite unlistenable. Snake is a wah-wah heavy piece .. a surprising early excusion into the unpleasant art of interminable noodling at high speed and volume, while Joanne and Demon Trucker are really poor attempts at a hard rock singles, with fat doses of wah-wah thrown around indiscriminately. These sort of Doobie Brothers-influenced tracks really don't work well at all. As for the instrumental Obedience it starts off well enough but the ethnic percussion soon disappears under the wall of sound created by jarring guitars.

Even at its best, Jade Warrior is not really my cup of tea. And this album isn't Jade Warrior at its best. ... 42% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 2/5 |

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