Cherry Red 2014
Leaving the curved air behind him, a bow master explodes into space.
It’s been a long sailing towards erstwhile rock waters for Darryl Way. Save for a brief return to CURVED AIR, the sounds he produced in the last quarter of the century, including 2013’s "Ultra Violins", were mostly classically-minded. Yet the penchant for experimentation got the better of the veteran, and this album finds Way on a not-so-smooth orbit where electronic effects complement his bow’s motions across the strings. Not that Darryl followed his own advice given in “Don’t Look Back” which sets its calypso against Pachelbel’s “Canon” just like “Sergey” draws on Prokofiev’s “Peter And The Wolf,” but for all the futuristic slant of the record, an occasional glance over the shoulder helps the maestro keep close both sides of his musical personality, symphonic and popular.
The artist doesn’t tease the listener with obscure quotes, though, and opts for well-known works instead, which might be the underlying reggae message of “Nature’s Way” and of the most natural acoustic passage ushering it all into the title track, the album’s opener. It marries Rimsky-Korsakov to a new-age texture warmed by vocals and a slow-burn groove topped with a four-string electric charge that cuts through the insistent riffs of “The Best Of Times,” resolving in a folk dance, and the mantric rave of “Spooks.” But the sitar-tarred raga of “Summer Of Love” bubbles too close to the surface to result in tension until the solo strikes, whereas an instrumental reading spins a modern wool around traditional “Lagan Love,” and there’s a much lighter pure pop yarn in the harmonies of “A Winter’s Tale” and “An American Tale” melding glitzy beats and gentle flute onto a heavy foundation.
Looks like Darryl Way has finally embraced all of his leanings and found a perfect balance. A cosmic thing, indeed.