Crommie; Daniel: Direct Current
Direct Current is the sister album of Group D'Jour, Echo System and Saturnalia Trio member Daniel Crommie's 2010 collaboration with Jade Warrior vocalist Glyn Havard, Between The Darkness And The Dawn. Havard does co-write one song on this album however the tracks that appear on Direct Current are some of the instrumental tracks that were recorded during the BTD&TD sessions that Crommie felt would be better represented on a separate release. In ways there are many similarities between the two albums, with electronic rhythms and samples featuring on both, alongside acoustic instruments which create atmospheres that jar against each other, but come together to make coherent songs. Strangely though, while the similarities are easily drawn between the two albums, the end results are quite startlingly different, with Direct Current eschewing the more song based approach of Between The Darkness... for a far more repetitive, electronic feel where the rhythms dominate, but seldom change for the entire duration of the songs.
Outside of the rhythms the main focal points centre on Crommie's keyboard layers as they set the scene for his flute playing, Leslie Gray's stunning violin and viola contributions and Paul Evans alto-sax. The results can at times be quite melancholy and while the electric ideas working alongside the acoustic instruments is always an interesting mix of styles and ideas, sometimes there just isn't enough there to really latch onto and be reeled in by. When it works as it most certainly does on the wonderful four part "Ocean Sketches", or the stunningly beautiful "FreQ Rez", the results are simply stunning. However at times the gentle arrangements don't quite break through the stark beat, with the likes of "One Monkey" only really gaining much interest as it draws to a close.
Closing song "Psyclones (coda)", which is the Havard co-write, takes the album out on a high with the Vangelis like keyboard pulses not only adding an urgency often lacking on Direct Current, but also offering a more obvious link between this album and Between The Darkness And The Dawn. The winding flute melody and little bursts of acoustic guitar add an airy, floating feel to the music that leaves you hugely uplifted and I really like that the only vocal on the whole album is sung as the disc fades out.
This is definitely an album that can take you on some revealing and challenging journeys, but also one that sometimes forgets to add quite enough interest to keep you hooked.
1. Pacific Time
2. December Daytime
3. Snow On Bare Branches
5. Ocean Sketches
a) Java Sea
b) Arabian Sea
c) The Caspian Sea
d) Coral Sea
6. FreQ Rez
7. Road To The Atlas Mountains
8. Ballet From "Swan Island"
9. Flint & Fuel
10. One Monkey Between Us
11. Psyclones (coda)
Added: February 26th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Daniel Crommie MySpace
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