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Durant, Jon: Brief Light

I admit that I had never heard of Jon Durant previously to receiving a promotional copy of Brief Light. I was actually more familiar with the roster of impressive list of guest musicians, notably bass extraordinaire Tony Levin. Durant is a guitarist/percussionist and Brief Light is an instrumental outing that sees him making music with the said Tony Levin as well as pianist Michael Whalen, percussionist Vinny Sabatino and on one track, "guitar synthesis" is played by Randy Roos. The results are comparable to some of the more recent King Crimson spin-off material, notably the more ambient "Project" groups.

The CD proper gets underway with "Persimmon", a very atmospheric piece including tuned percussion and guitar treatments. This track wouldn't be out of place on a soundtrack for a National Geographic television special. "Rosemary" is a quiet song which is more on the romantic side with pleasant non too intrusive piano and electric guitar. "River" is one of the longer pieces on offer at 6:22 with tuned percussion and a "gong ensemble". This track reminds me a little of Jade Warrior during their Island Records period, but with some notable Robert Fripp influenced guitar treatments along with Tony Levin's distinctive fretless bass. The longest cut is the 9:44 "Behind Stone Walls", utilizing more of the same world music influence along with the atmospheres that are present throughout the entire CD. In fact, that is my biggest complaint with Brief Light; the mood almost never changes.

Brief Light is ultimately a good listen, but it is a bit too laid back and drenched in atmosphere for my taste. At times, it borders on middle of the road New Age music, with some of the songs simply designed to make you think about the wonder-of-it-all, especially in a song called "The Wind at Night". Another comparison might be to Peter Gabriel's more recent ambient musings on his Up CD. But Gabriel's songs always lead somewhere and the vibe on Brief Light resembles elevator music at times. A fine CD for background music, but not a whole lot to challenge the intellect or to pull on the heartstrings.

Added: May 26th 2003
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Alchemy Records Website
Hits: 2519
Language: english

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