Casting away progressive credentials, GONG reedman heads in the direction of his name to find enlightenment and the light.
To see him as a pixel in a pixie world of Daevid Allen’s creation would mean to severely underestimate the scope of Ian East’s stylistic expanse. This album, the artist’s first full-length solo work that finds him play all the instruments, has its sights only on one, probably lest expected, aspect of East’s oeuvre: East European music – mostly Balkan, with a pinch of klezmer – that’s as intense as anything Ian does in a fusion framework. Sometimes, the drift gets even deeper than that and than those esoteric notions thanks to deceptively simpler rhythms.
The grooves are infectious, though, and by painting exotic patterns over hard bop canvas, East evokes spirituality in the likes of “Dance Of The Awakening” where sax and clarinet create a mesmeric tapestry. Yet there’s a sad, somewhat elegiac thread in “Eternal Cycles” to keep the listener transfixed from the start, with the sparse “Secret Spaces” exploring emotional emptiness so, as a result, even the multilayered jazz vibe infusing “Spirals” wouldn’t startle those who seek immediate pleasure in a tentative pastorale. “Rotations” may be relatively quiet and adventurous in equal measure. too, but, bent on improv, “Parallel Realiteas” is as tonic as a drink referenced in its title. That’s the effect of the whole album: the joy of making giant steps into one’s own psyche. Quite a milestone.