Spoke Of Shadows ~ Spoke Of Shadows

Spoke of Shadows – Spoke of Shadows

You can’t make an album based around the Warr guitar without it sounding like the last incarnation of King Crimson, can you? Well, not necessarily, as this fine release proves. Spoke of Shadows is Herd of Instinct Warr guitarist Mike Cook and Bill Bachman, one time drummer with Neal Morse, and while the opening track of this album sets off on a very Crimsoid course, it is almost a tease. There you are thinking “ah, I’ve got this one’s number”, when along come all manner of delightful surprises that soon have you binning your neat little descriptive boxes. Well, that’s what Spoke Of Shadows did for this scribbler, at any rate.

With only two tracks over five minutes in length, this entirely instrumental album easily holds the listener’s attention, and the second song immediately lets us know this is not about to be a one-trick pony.

The introduction of the liquid guitar runs of Tony Rohrbough and Bob Fisher’s soaring flute sends Images up into the heavens. When Mark picks up his fretless bass a jazzy vibe filters through, aided on One Day by Shannon Wickline’s lyrical piano playing. Three tracks in, and three distinct aural pictures make for a more than pleasant listening experience. Abstract funk is evident on the second Fripp influenced song Harbinger, and it features some incendiary short blasts of guitar from Tony and Michael Harris before chilling out with the flute.

The two longest tracks show some nice dynamics building, allowed by their extra length. Pain Map, led by the fretless bass, goes from a languid beginning into some fine guitar work fairly low in the mix over the synth orchestration. This pain is not hurting, the anaesthetic must be working. Low riffage presages a heavier menacing section and sound map is starting to spike before waves of calming waterfall guitar bring things down again. The track plays out to the accompaniment of a chamber orchestra and cosmic synth patches. Tilting At Windmills is altogether heavier, with Bill’s drums rumbling underneath the intro like a gunning engine. Alternating quiet and loud sections, where the marching riff is countered by the mellotron and flute, the protagonist keeps on tilting and then taking a rest to great effect before playing out on a languorous guitar solo. Marvellous!

The album ends with Drama Of Display, an intricate contrapuntal workout that highlights Bill’s intricate fills and latterly some fusion-like fretless bass from Mark. Spoke of Shadows veers stylistically from the intricate Frippisms of Dominion and Harbinger, to the cinematic orchestrations of Pain Map, right through to Accord with its relaxing laid back vibe, and the album never becomes wearing. I thoroughly recommend Spoke of Shadows for any lover of well-played, slightly difficult but nonetheless accessible music.

01. Dominion (5:15)
02. Images (3:10)
03. One Day (2:19)
04. Harbinger (3:36)
05. Lost One (3:24)
06. Pain Map (7:25)
07. Persona (3:16)
08. Splendid Sisters (3:16)
09. Tilting At Windmills (6:11)
10. Accord (2:32)
11. Dichotomy (3:33)
12. Drama Of Display (3:58)

Total Time – 48:00

Bill Bachman – Drums
Mark Cook – Warr Guitar, ADG Fretless Bass, Guitar, Keyboards & Drums

Joe Blair – Guitar
Gayle Ellett – Mellotron & Fender Rhodes
Bob Fisher – Flute
Michael Harris – Guitar
Tony Rohrbough – Guitar
Dave Streett – Warr Guitar
Shannon Wickline – Piano

Record Label: Firepool Records
Catalogue#: FR005
Year Of Release: 2014

Main website: Spoke Of Shadows
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