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Colin Mold - Water of Divinity CD (album) cover


Colin Mold


Prog Folk

3.53 | 13 ratings

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4 stars Being totally enthralled and enamored by Colin Mold's latest album 'Girl on the Castle Steps', I undertook the task of getting his debut recording 'Water of Divinity' into my collection and strive to comprehend where it all began for him, in terms of recording (his very first foray was the raw Kara project). There are some who do not like beautiful music, a notion that I find kind of bizarre, as if a pretty woman or a pretty photograph would somehow deserve to be unliked and therefore discarded. But this prettiness can also incorporate a colossal amount of pain and emotion, a strong sense of melancholia and nostalgia which is the underlying essence of such a wide variety of musical styles, from Gypsy, Fado, Celtic, Umm Kulhtum and Flamenco to blues, folk, jazz and rock.

The seeds of future greatness ('Girl' is an outright masterpiece) are plainly audible on this exemplary offering, obviously kept low-key for budgetary reasons, such as the strong lead voice that resonates with such ardor and poignancy as well as the dexterous guitar playing of the highest caliber. Acoustic and electric workouts are technically proficient and exhibit a strong sense of personality and style that is well above the norm. This very personal album is littered with examples of Colin's musical expertise and showcases a bright future for this multi-instrumentalist. As per the liner notes, 'Water of Divinity' began as a collection of instrumental pieces designed around the story of St Alban and quickly evolved into a more or less conceptual recording with appropriate lyrics and vocals. The opener 'Pursuit of Amphibalus' is an all-instrumental track that espouses the electric folk-rock traditions of the United Kingdom in an obvious and expansive manner

The sedate 'The Dying Tree' is our first glimpse of Colin's quivering and angelic voice, a seductive expression similar to a less husky Justin Hayward. The fuzzy guitar washes amid the acoustic picking show the signs of a composer on top of his game , especially when the oblique lead solo kicks in , hinting at Iona's Dave Bainbridge or even Allen Holdsworth.

'Prayer and Shelter' is a hauntingly beautiful highlight track, like a sky full of scintillating stars, soothing backing vocals shepherded by a fluid electric guitar flight and blanketed in lustrous keyboards. Yes, there is a little hint of early Enya as well as some folksy preciousness that exudes beauty and serenity.

'So Many Thoughts' is a brief acoustic guitar interlude, aromas of Ant Phillips in the air, jangly notes resonating spiritedly.

The sunny 'Beautiful Place' chooses to lean towards a more classic folk expanse, the sublime vocals and deep lyrics taking over a brisk and echoing melody, whilst whooshing Roland synths paint the air and sensuously duel with a voluptuous axe solo as well as some fine acoustic picking. From this moment on, Colin proposes a series of four songs that easily rival the future jewels on 'Girl on the Castle Steps', where sweeping rapturous melodies vie for attention with superb instrumental playing. First up, the grandiose 'When Will you Wait to See my Light' with its memorable chorus that sticks to your brain like some tenacious mould (pun time!), augmented by a soaring, scouring guitar solo for the ages, the soothing voice seeps lovingly beyond the melancholia and consecrating the talent on display here. I mean this is achingly beautiful, inspiring, personal and sensational music, a song for the ages.

'A Life Through my Eyes' continues the crest on which the music rides, a more acoustic oriented style at first that evolves into an enormous guitar excursion, flush with emotional drive and folk tradition, dense synthesized orchestrations that give width and breath to the meaningful lyrics.

'Arrival and Capture' seeks to prove a crucial point in terms of progressive value, bristling synths fluttering wildly and forcing a near symphonic aura that is applause worthy, shoving all preconceptions aside and highlighting some more fabulous playing that is all substance and effect, deeply cinematographic and sonically resonant. This is where the prog rock element is vivid and unpretentious, effectively providing depth to the recording. Both the keyboard and the guitar expertise are obvious and stunning.

The heroic finale 'From the Spring Flows Hope' is another fine example of Colin Mold's craft, an inspired musical exercise that obliterates any doubt about his technical abilities, showcasing a staggering display on electric guitar, searing leads that cascade relentlessly from his fingers, flavored with distinct Celtic tones and his acoustic playing is nothing to disregard, his picking technique on par with his emotional delivery. Once again, the melodic inspiration is well beyond expectations, a supreme sense of melody and structure confirms the obvious.

Fans of Iona, Mike Oldfield, Karnataka, Mostly Autumn as well as prog-folk in general need to check this talented artist out. Music for music's sake! A star is born.

4.5 celestial irrigations

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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