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Steve Howe - Paul Sutin & Steve Howe: Seraphim CD (album) cover


Steve Howe


Crossover Prog

1.86 | 33 ratings

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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.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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