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Dan Arborise - Of Tide & Trail CD (album) cover


Dan Arborise

Prog Folk

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5 stars Dan Arborise is a fantastic guitar player born in Borneo, who grew up in the UK. He claims that the ambient works of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp are a huge influence on his music and aims to make a sort of acoustic ambient music. Bert Jansch's album Rosemary Lane is a good reference. His guitar playing style is very reminiscent of Jansch's, though his voice is more similar to John Martyn's. For this album most of the songs are backed with his own electric guitar playing manipulated though the use of Fripp and Eno's Frippertronics technique. This sets the album apart from his slightly lackluster debut, though his acoustic guitar playing is also much improved on this album.

It starts off with the energetic "Another Side of the Sky." This song quickly shows off his guitar playing prowess and how well his acoustic guitar playing sounds over the Frippertronics stuff in the background, along with how nice his voice is. Following that song is the politically driven "You'll All Get What's Coming to You." His guitar playing throughout this song is very aggressive as are the lyrics, which is different from his usual positive love songs. One of the few tracks on the album that lacks the Frippertronics but is still an extremely strong track and his non-stop fast-paced guitar playing in the song more than makes up for it. It then slows down with the track "She Told Me How to Love Her." The main focus on this song is his pleasant voice and the romantic lyrics, though that in no way means that his playing isn't just as great. It immediately picks back up with "I Live". This song best shows his subtle electric guitar playing as opposed to the acoustically dominated rest of the album (except for the final track), though most of it is still his fantastic acoustic guitar playing.

I Live is followed by my favorite song off of the album, and the longest at 9 minutes and 30 seconds, "Cries." It starts off slow, repeating the same riff before the vocals come in, though the same riff is repeated for a short while. This song has some additional electronic effects in the background along with the Frippertronics that work well. About 4 minutes it trails off of the vocal section into one of my favorite acoustic guitar solos I've ever heard, that never fails to give me goosebumps. After this it picks back up, the Frippertronics and acoustic guitar playing perfectly together. His vocals come back in shortly after and this plays out until the end, though it never feels like it drags.

This is followed by one of the only tracks I'd give less than a perfect score, "My Dear." His vocals are the main component of the song, and I would definitely call it pretty, though it drags on a bit. The main riff never really changes much and for the most part only get louder and more intense. After a few listens this track tends to get skipped. However this track is followed by the amazing "My Child." His guitar playing in this is adventurous and fun, and this is probably the most positive sounding song on the album, though this is already a pretty positive sounding album. This song is a tribute to his growing daughter, and you can feel the love put into this song throughout. This is followed one of the more progressive songs on the album, "Under Your Spell." It starts off sounding very close to "My Dear," and has a build similar to "Cries". His voice sounds great on this song, really exploring his range. The electric guitar playing in the background has fantastic hypnotic drone throughout. Just under 3 minutes in there's a lade back acoustic guitar solo that is very nice and always invokes emotions in me. 4 and half minutes in the sound of the electric guitar playing starts to crash in around you as it builds louder and louder as the acoustic guitar plays consistently, never changing, as you here Dan's hypnotic voice in the background quietly whispering Under Your Spell until the electric guitar takes over everything else slowly playing the song out.

After that intense experience you get the very nice "Days Even Years," a very easy to like song, and a great song in fact. This song does a great job of preserving and adding upon the emotional high you get coming off of "Under Your Spell." This song is similar to "My Child" and the main feature is Dan's emotional singing and lyrics accompanied by the very Bert Jansch reminiscent guitar playing. The song never really changes anything up, but is still satisfying. The album finishes with the song "Feet in the Sea, Head in the Stars," which honestly took a few listens to fully appreciate. The delightful acoustic guitar playing from the rest of the album is absent and this song focuses on his ambient Frippertronics stuff, electronic effects, and electric guitar playing that has had a more background role in the rest of the album. The song has a powerful build up and is mostly instrumental, but still gives me goosebumps. There are no vocals until about 7 minutes in, which at this point is almost the end. They surprise you, and deliver on the build up that has preceded them. They carry on until the end, finally closing a beautiful album.

I have been in love with this album for a long time, so when I finally found Dan Arborise had been admitted to the site I had to start writing this review. This album is a masterpiece, and is in my top 10 favorite albums of all time. It is so beautiful and invokes so many emotion's throughout, anyone that can get a hold of this album should, because it truly should be an essential to any music collection.

Report this review (#835666)
Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Of musical polyglot DAN ARBORISE's two albums, this second offering would be of greater significance to prog rock fans, as it is here that he succeeds in wedging his ambient ambitions amidst astute acoustically oriented contemporary folk. Even the more conventional singer songwriter oriented pieces state their business more succinctly, which contrast meaningfully with extended atmospheric jams on guitars treated and otherwise. A case in point is the candid assertiveness of "I Live" followed by the epic "Cries", with its thesis that the wailing of a babe is not much different from that of even a reasonable adult. The deceptively jaunty beginning to "Under Your Spell" eventually yields to ethereal, almost meditative currents as the background effects slowly mount, all propelled by Arborise's velvety vocals. "Days Even Years" is a simpler but no less rewarding folk song with an effect similar to CAT STEVENS' early unadorned work, a la "Mona Bone Jakon" but with more soothing vocals. The closing behemoth plunges with utmost selflessness into the primordial FRIPP-ENO universe and only ushers in lyrics at its endpoint to remind listeners about the agenda that by all rights they may have forgotten. The best material here glistens with hard won lessons, even if they may recede as rhythmically as the tide or the trail of a middle aged hairline. This sophomore effort is worth your reflection, and is pretty adept at inciting it.
Report this review (#1288899)
Posted Tuesday, October 7, 2014 | Review Permalink

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