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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Journey of Tears by Monica Williams, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/11/2018
  High Tech. High Touch by Wendy Loomis, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 10/11/2018
  A Trick of the Wind by Erik Scott, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/2/2018
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In the Company of Clouds
By Erik Scott
Label: Self Released
Released 11/1/2016
In the Company of Clouds tracks
1. Nine Lives
2. Seven Veils
3. Women of Avalon
4. Breathing Room
5. Victory
6. Open Door
7. First Cup
8. Waves
9. The Long View
That Man Behind the Curtain
I met rock bassist and composer Erik Scott a while back. He was a gaunt, giant of a man, who was effusive, friendly and with a positive attitude that would make a Buddhist monk blush. He had ideas about everything and he knew about energies and destinies. Scott is an old school musician. He played with Flo & Eddie, Alice Cooper, and Aussie star Sharon O'Neil. That's just for starters. He has been on both sides of the control board numerous times and he is a song writer of many styles. He has faced numerous health challenges of late, but he has emerged victorious on many levels. How he transformed from Rockism to New Age/Ambient must be a long story, but one thing I do know, his conversion was more than successful. Erik uses his bass guitar as a lead instrument on nine ambient New Age, World and a few cross genre tracks on his latest release, In The Company of Clouds. The music has a contemporary feel, but it often slides in and out of other categories like a low frequency wraith, stealthy, but at the same time with a great deal of substance. The music is enigmatic and colorful with a bass overtone that is more complimentary than punchy. The mix includes other instruments and voice, but I'll get to that later. The overall sense is that the music is somewhat improvisational, but it still has a natural cohesiveness in all its stages. Let’s listen.

Nine Lives is one of three songs that, I think, reflects Erik's present outlook more than it does the general theme. But the songs all belong here, for they are part of the journey and perhaps the best part. Life is full of one challenge after the next and one can only survive by being strong in spirit. The music is strong in this atmospheric aire with blissful voice in the background, waves of keyboard synth and a fluid bass lead.

The music of Seven Veils is intricately sublime with a bass nuance that is flowing with cryptic energy. Within the tune the characters glide effortlessly about, diaphanous beings created by light and sound. The music is so nimble that we wonder if the dancers' feet ever touch the earth.

Women of Avalon features Emmy Award winning guitarist Steve Hunter backing a song with lush vocals and fantasy themes. It is actually a complex tune with a lot of parallel layers that suggests majesty, magic and courtly love. Breathing Room featuring guitar wizard Jeff Pearce has lots of sonic washes, sinuous guitar and stratospheric bass. The bass lead is liquescent, shaping, shifting, and taking on the form of every note in the song. Like breathing, it has ebb and a flow and it gives it rhythmic character.

Another one for Erik is Victory I think. Dynamic piano by Scott himself drives the intro while steel guitar by John Pirrucello tiptoes in the background. The deep voice of Erik's bass is laudatory without being overbearing, thus balancing the whole tune. The music says that everyday victories must be celebrated. It is an appreciation that also makes the heart light and the burden of mortality lighter.

Asian companies design their business ventures with a plan that might incorporate twenty years of activities for the future. None of those may be next year boondoggles where failure might actually be an option. The Long View, the final cut on In The Company of Clouds is Erik's plan, no his promise, that he will be here to make the future plans a reality. The music, a glorious bassy ronde, is a show of strength in which the bass and guitar sing in polyphony, an echo of each other while the slide guitar offers reassuring reverberation.

I went back and revisited Erik Scott's previous album Spirits to compare yesterday with today so to speak. The compositions are similar, but not the same. In The Company of Clouds is infinitesimally darker, the melodies weightier, the performances more deliberate. All of it suggests to me there is always time for perfection. I enjoyed every cut on the album. First, for its unique quality of bass on top, melody on the bottom. And second, I liked the compositions for their fluidity. As I listened the music became what is was. It sound impossible to explain, but it is not. I paraphrase Bruce Lee who once said, "Put water in a cup, it becomes the cup."
Rating: Excellent   Excellent
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 11/2/2016
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