Purple Pyramid 2018
Maven of progressive violin lays it on the line in order to augment reality and banish gloom.
Given David Cross‘ fierce creativity – on sporadic display since his stint with KING CRIMSON and performed in various experimental positions as of late – it was only logical that the veteran has been avoiding current fad for file-swapping method of recording for as long as possible; yet when DIE KRUPPS’ Jürgen Engler, Cleopatra Records wizard-in-residence, offered him some cuts and asked if David wanted to add his touch to those, Cross couldn’t resist. Nor could he limit potential contributions to simple embellishments, opting instead for projecting his personality onto the pieces and applying not only passages but also melodies to what was proposed – hence this album’s title.
In an interesting pattern, part of the record spans a few West Coast rock classics sent by Cross way beyond their psychedelic source. As a result, the fragile flutter of “White Bird” may seem distant, with Sonja Kraushofer’s vocals freezing the tune, yet David’s multi-voiced folk fiddle anchors this flight to the natural landscape, where elegy would marry anxiety. Hearing him bridge country and chamber music on “For What It’s Worth” in the company of Anne-Marie Hurst is quite a transcendental experience, one close to an acid-fueled trip, while “Shifting Sands” – the most obscure of the hippie gems – will serve as a throbbing pathway to a string of desert-themed pieces scattered around the disc.
The vibrant wonder permeating “Kalahari Fantasy” will find David’s violin meander majestically along trance-inducing groove before buzz and bass splinter it into mirage-like harmonies, but when the great late Ofra Haza fills up “The Key” and “Love Me” with mellifluous wail, enchantment becomes almost unbearable and it’s up to David to take the edge off it, although Marion Kuchenmeister is able to give “Hero Of Kingdom” a pacifying pace and cover violin worry. Voiced by Kimberly Freeman, dancing reflections of “The Light Inside Me” are possessed with hymnal charm, yet solemn, almost dissonant tones render “Into The Oblique” rather intense, if also unhurried, after Cross has created an entire orchestra for “Prince Of Darkness” to make the number’s riff-laden dramatic rise disconcerting, which can’t be said of “Hallelujah” that’s stricken with a minor fall and a major lift and transformed into a heavy sort of new-age atmosphere.
Still, Eva O’s chant and the hypnotic weave of David’s four strings in “Shadows Do Know” make the record’s finale so nervous that it, in fact, feels like unfinished business. Perhaps, there can be a continuation, for what it’s worth.