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Band Of Rain: Deep Space

This record's title describes the music far better than its somewhat pedestrian, terrestrial cover art does. It is indeed deeply spacey.

By definition, space music is a series of textures and wide sonic landscapes, ethereal and without substance, often without rhythm or melody or conventionally sung vocal components, leading to a floating ambient sense of consciousness. It's easy to imagine space music in movie soundtracks - and you've probably heard a lot of space music in that context. On its own, it sometimes challenges the patience, which probably explains why the genre has a somewhat specialized audience. Think Ozrics and Hawkwind.

That space music definition describes many of the elements on Band Of Rain's debut CD, but fortunately for most of us, many sections on most tracks rescue Deep Space from being too spaced out. With occasional singing, nice guitar work and good bass lines, it's a tad more approachable than most space music. There's plenty of electronica here, but the band injects enough analog components to give it character. Despite an insistent percussion, "Casanova Of The Cliff Dwellers" is 4 minutes of repeated soft electronic lines, an interesting but repetitive guitar riff, then on to more electronica with a repeated piano motif and a series of odd effects, all far back in the mix. Yet the very next song has a pleasing dual guitar line that rescues the record it from the formless waffle that is the trap of so much space music. The first 3 minutes of "Last Wave Goodbye" features a British maritime weather and conditions report laid over formless ambient music, and the rest of the track follows that stream-of-consciousness kind of sound that goes through various changes but never really develops into anything stronger. There are places in the record where it seems you can actually hear the start and end of the loop, and the programmed percussion might frighten some listeners off.

"Cloudburst" is the standout track here, going through several clearly defined sections with well managed tempo changes, a good 'groove' and an underlying theme that guides the piece through its full 4 minutes. "War and Peace" is quite fun as well, with control of the song alternating between war effects played over crunchy power chords and blazing lead guitar, and an elegantly peaceful motif. Rather progressive, somewhat spacey. There is singing on four of the tracks, with the voices being soft and relaxed and somewhat folksy.

Songwriter and founding member Chris Gill claims influences from '60s psychedelia and '70s prog, and given the style of this music it's no surprise that he confesses that his favorite bands are Gong and Ozric Tentacles.

Band Of Rain has completed their second CD, and we already have a copy for review. Early indications are very favorable, so watch this space...


Track Listing:
1. Cloudburst (4:24)
2. Gorgeous daughters of Mr Himalaya (4:56)
3. Search for my daughter (3:43)
4. Room... where time stands still (4:38)
5. War and Peace (5:08)
6. Sic itur ad astra (5:08)
7. Casanova of the cliff dwellers (3:41)
8. Criggion (5:30)
9. Last wave goodbye (7:11)
10.Deep space (7:04)
11.Haze (4:55)
12.Castle walls (5:12)
13.Svengali (5:14)

Added: November 22nd 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: Band Of Rain's Web Site
Hits: 4903
Language: english

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