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Miller, Sinclair, Tomkins Gowen - Before A Word Is Said  CD (album) cover

BEFORE A WORD IS SAID

Miller, Sinclair, Tomkins Gowen

 

Canterbury Scene

3.70 | 27 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I don't think that we can separate the reason why this album was conceived from what it contains. Any art is made of messages and know what the artists has in mind when making his work surely helps in receiving and interpreting the messages.

For this reason "Before A Word Is Said" can be disclosed with two different keys.

First of all it's an amazing collection of Canterbury music from some of the most representative artists of the genre, but it's also the musical testament of a dying artist who called three firends at his home to help him writing this testament before passing away for a severe leukemia. I have to say that the only one track on which this can be caught, the one containing a message of death is the title track. There are no lyrics, and without knowing the story it could be intended just as a dark track on which is not clear why it's opened and closed by children's voices.

The impression that I have is that Gowen may have wanted to make a "real" testament, leaving the description of his tragic situation to one track only, and using the rest of the album to show down some of his actual musical ideas, maybe to have them exploited more by somebody else.

The other tracks apparently don't contain so tragic "messages".

"Above and Below" gives room to Sinclair's bass and it's a clear example of that jazzy music that was named with its city of origin. "Reflexes in Margin" sees bass and drums swinging on chords that are more common in bop and free-jazz. "Nowadays A Silhouette" starts lead by fretless bass and is closer to fusion, specially when keyboard first, then guitar become the leading instrument. A very great track, this one. "Silver Star" is a short piece that reminds a bit to Soft Machine but is also one of the easiest tracks with an impressive keyboard solo. Some space to guitar on "Fourfold" that's funky-fusion oriented (another great track). "Umbrella" is a relaxing moment with just a hint of darkness and "A Fleeting Glance" is not too different but features a fantastic keyboard riff in its 7 minutes of length.

The excellent musicianship makes this album highly enjoyable and adds more regret for the missing keyboardist and what he could have had created if he wasn't passed away so early.

4 fully deserved stars, not to be missed.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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