Dennis Rea: Giant Steppes
Dennis Rea continues his series of “musical travelogues” with Giant Steppes, a boldly unconventional exploration of Central Asian music that follows on from his acclaimed 2010 MoonJune Records release Views From Chicheng Precipice. The album also comes with Rea's companion book Tuva and Busted, available as a free download from Blue Ear Books.
Recorded over several years in Seattle and Siberia, Giant Steppes is the ever-unpredictable guitarist/composer/arranger’s most ambitious album so far, interpolating Silk Road desert airs, Russian choral songs, Tuvan throat singing, and mutant Tibetan pop with a gleeful yet respectful disregard for genre purity. The album is all over the map both geographically and sonically, mingling jazz, heavy prog, krautrock, surf, electroacoustic soundscapes, and field recordings and showcasing such formidable musicians as Tuvan singer Albert Kuvezin (Yat Kha), celebrated Russian choral ensemble Juliana & PAVA, badass bassist Wadim Dicke, trumpet mage Greg Kelley, Rea's 1970s Earthstar bandmate Daniel Zongrone, and Seattle treasures Steve Fisk, Doug Haire, Stuart Dempster, Dick Valentine, Don Berman, Greg Campbell, Brian Oppel, and Greg Powers.
Flame Tree featuring Nik Turner
Cleopatra Records / Purple Pyramid CLO0298CD
This wholly improvised first encounter between Hawkwind founder Nik Turner and Seattle musos Jack Gold-Molina (drums), Dennis Rea (guitar), and Paul "PK" Kemmish (acoustic bass) covers widely varied sonic terrain, from high-intensity, galloping freebop to probing deep-space explorations, and finds Nik in rare form on tenor saxophone and flute. Beautifully captured by "Greedy Greg" Williamson, artfully mixed by Jack Endino, and gorgeously illustrated by Nik's longtime cohort Nazar Ali Khan.
"Laid down during a single recording session, these seven pieces are intense and elegiac at the same time, resolving such a contradiction in subtle, yet unconsciously shocking, electric vignettes which swirl amidst and under deceptively unhinged reeds.... transfixing and transcendental"
—Dmitry Epstein, DMME full review
Purchase Flame Tree featuring Nik Turner