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Steve Howe Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Seraphim album cover
1.86 | 33 ratings | 5 reviews | 3% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1988

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Venetian Passage (7:05)
2. A Light Romance (3:33)
3. Passione Magica (6:04)
4. The Substance of Stars (3:07)
5. Seraphim (8:31)
6. The New Moon (2:52)
7. Sequential Fantasy (5:33)
8. San Marco's Journey (6:06)

Total time 43:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Howe / electric, steel & 12-string acoustic guitars, koto, fretless bass
- Paul Sutin / acoustic piano, synthesizers programming, producer

- Carlo Bettini / acoustic piano, synthesizers programming
- Barry Schulmann / flute & soprano sax (8)

Releases information

CD Real Music ‎- RM 1855 (1989, Switzerland)
CD SPV Recordings ‎- 076-89562 (1995, Germany) New cover art

Thanks to easy livin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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STEVE HOWE Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Seraphim ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(9%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (42%)
Poor. Only for completionists (18%)

STEVE HOWE Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Seraphim reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars You want to buy my shop? Well OK, but only if you'll play on my pal's album

In 1988, Steve Howe and Alan White purchased a health food shop from a chap by the name of Terry Yallop. Yallop had ambitions in terms of the music industry, and had already set up a record label dedicated to new age music. He happened to introduce one of his artists, a Swiss musician by the name of Paul Sutin to Steve Howe. The two got talking about their mutual musical interests, and agreed to work together. Sutin was already working on an album at the time, and persuaded Howe to contribute to it, the resulting release "Serpahim" being credited equally to both. The duo was joined by keyboard player Carlo Bettini, who also receives a shared composition credit on the title track.

Sutin's style can be conveniently, if not entirely accurately, described as new age. Howe was keen to try his hand at a more relaxing, less abrasive style of music at the time, so the collaboration with Sutin immediately appealed to him. While on their second album together ("Voyagers"), the balance would be far more equal, here Sutin is noticeably the more dominant, if indeed it is possible to be dominant in a new age context!

The music here is certainly easy to listen to and totally relaxing. The new age tenets of simple repeating melodies and carefully selected sounds are very much in evidence, especially when Sutin is playing alone or accompanied only by Bettini. When Steve adds his subtle colours though, such as the pedal steel on the opening "A Venetian passage", the tracks begin to evolve into something altogether more rewarding. Howe's contributions tend to be less obtrusive than on "Voyagers", but even here they are highly relevant.

The 8 minute title track is probably the pick of the bunch from the album, Howe's gentle improvisations being backed by orchestral keyboards layers. The track sounds a bit like an extended coda to one of Yes' epic pieces. The closing number, "Marco's journey", features additional flute and sax played by Barry Schulmann, his contribution equalling the understated subtlety of Howe's.

In summary, a pleasantly relaxing album which, while primarily being of the new age type, does include some fine performances by the protagonists.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This can only be described as new age. It even commits both cardinal sins of new age triteness, sound effects of birds and water. And Steve Howe is more of a guest artist on this album. You can only tell that it's Howe playing on two tracks, Passione Magica and the title track, Seraphim.

Now I don't fault anyone for wanting to play this type of music, and Howe certainly has more than enough albums that cater towards my tastes, but I don't have to like it. But I suppose it could be worse. It could be a dismal as Eno's ambient albums.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars Steve's answer to Jon & Vangelis?

Seraphim is not a Steve Howe solo album per se, but a collaborative effort with a New-Age artist named Paul Sutin. This is not a Classical guitar album with a bit of keyboards in the background; rather, it is a New-Age album with a bit of (mostly) acoustic guitar in the background. There are even bird noises in the background on some tracks! Only occasionally does Steve come to the fore with a few barely recognizable acoustic or sometimes electric guitar notes, but never something "flashy". Soft keyboards dominate the proceedings and not Steve's guitar playing. The "other" Steve, Steve Hackett, did a similar thing on his collaboration with Gandalf, another New-Age artist.

This wholly instrumental music is extremely subtle and clearly designed for relaxation rather than attentive listening. It is the perfect kind of music to have in the background while reading things that require much attention. The arrangements are never complex and the sound is never anywhere near aggressive.

The quality of the recording is by no means poor, and the result cannot be described as anything but pleasant even if utterly unexciting. Still, this is a fine album of easy listening, but for Prog fans there is nothing of real interest here. Not even for Steve Howe's most ardent fans (like this reviewer) is there anything of particular interest. Maybe it is best seen as a Paul Sutin album full stop?

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Not a kind of music Steve Howe fans would be normally pursuing, but as a part of exploration less favorably rated albums of his, this was an inevitable choice. I simply got to listen for myself what's so bad about it.

Well, nothing, if you are New Age fan. I am not, music for relaxation actually does the exact opposite of its intended effect - it makes me irritated and nervous. I don't know how to face it. But it gets worse. Steve's contribution is barely noticeable here. It can be played by any random musician, it's so generic NA that it makes me scream and wish it was all over.

1(-), no understanding here, big letdown.

Latest members reviews

1 stars This album fails on several levels. Let's review: It fails as a Steve Howe album. He is only given partial credit for five of the nine tracks, because these are the only ones he plays on. And yet he is playing background accompaniment to the piano parts played by Sutin, sometimes with Carl ... (read more)

Report this review (#293203) | Posted by Progosopher | Monday, August 2, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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