Brown, Charles - Cry Of The Northern Wind

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Fossil Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 38:44:00

Classically trained master all-round guitarist Charles Brown has released 5 increasingly sophisticated CDs of richly textured all-instrumental music. All are mature, melodic and different - and are a damned good listen. All are somewhat similar in their extensive use of the Roland GR-33 guitar synthesizer, they often sound nothing like guitar music. And all are essentially solo efforts, with occasional bass, percussion and keyboard assistance from guest artists.

A common characteristic of most of Charles Brown's songs is a simple theme that is developed and embellished and built into a multi-layered body of work that preserves the sanctity of the original melody, yet simultaneously displays all the complexities and sophistication that will appeal to the demanding progressive rock fan.

The sounds generated by the guitar synth vary tremendously. For example, "The Funk's In The House" is just that - a funky piece with what sounds for all the world like a big-band multi-part brass backing. Add the contributions of long-time Internet-collaborators Bill Lawrence who provides a lilting bass groove and Matt Bassano with a light-fingered mini-moog solo and you have an unconventional piece of music that will appeal to the sophisticated listener. The self-titled "Cry Of The Northern Wind" is a highlight. Close your eyes and you can almost hearthe cries of a howling wind on this track. It builds up then pulls back and builds up again and again, all the while maintaining a taught energy that speaks to the latent power of a winter wind storm. This piece is melodically powerful, and its interweaving themes and layer upon layer of textures and the rich variety of synthesized instruments add a pleasing complexity.

"Aerial Passage" features wonderful acoustic guitar work interspersed with synth and lead guitar sections, and "Raindance" takes a similar structure with finger-picked and strummed acoustic guitars providing a solid base for the synth, which carries the melody. Charles lists these two tracks among his personal favorites.

There are trumpet-like patches on this CD, mini-moog-like sections, and even some 'tron-like choral sounds - but it isn't all synthesized. Electric, bass and acoustic guitars are at the heart of this music, yet the style is unconventional and creative. The cadence is usually rapid and the pace drives the music along at a restless pace, yet it is refined, tightly composed music. This record is more mature than Brown's previous releases, with more jazzy touches, more old-fashioned influences, and with hardly any of the raw anger and the quasi-metallic heaviness of his earlier work. There are major improvements in the standard of production and mixing quality, and the cover art by Jilaen Sherwood is imaginative and spacey

Cry Of The Northern Wind comprises 11 tracks that are over in just 39 short minutes - and you'll wonder how so much sophistication could fit into such a condensed timeframe.

Cry Of The Northern Wind / 104 Octane / Thru The Mist / The Sands Of Time / Anthem To The Sun / Mr. Dowland's Midnight / The Hourglass / Aerial Passage / The Funk's In The House / Neutron Detonation / Raindance

Charles Brown, Bill Lawrence, Matt Bassano

Mystics (1999)
Earth Voyage (2001)
Mystic Vision (2002)
Thru The Flames (2003)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: April 5th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 1087
Language: english


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