Iris - Crossing The Desert

Year of Release: 1996
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: IRISCD1
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:01:00

Starting so quiet as to almost not be heard (at normal volume) with a sound not unlike the fog horn that began Marillion's Brave - Iris' Crossing The Desert, is a rich, lush sonic soundscape that really allows the players to stretch their wings. Iris are Marillos Ian Mosley (drums) and Pete Trewavas (bass), and Sylvian Gouvernaire (Arrakeen; guitar, piano, keys). Crossing The Desert began as a solo project by Mosley and blossomed into the best solo project by any Marillion member to date (excepting, maybe, Fish's solo work).

Gouvernaire is an expressive, emotive guitarist, not unlike Rothery - though their tone and style are very different. Many of the songs contain what can only be described as searing guitar lines - lovingly sustained for maximum effect, evoking the sweltering, wide open spaces of the desert (not suprisingly).

Comparisons to Marillion are inevitable, but not really necessary. Yes, because of the artists involved, there will be a phrase or note that is reminiscent of some Marillion track, but nothing that sounds as if they are recycling old material.

The title track itself is a tour de force, moving from a booming rocker, to a gentler guitar workout, to a piano interlude, back to a searing guitar/bass/drums workout. All of which illustrates why this disc needs to be listened to loud.

Many instrumental albums make two mistakes - overlong tracks for the sake of showing off chops and desperately needing vocals. This album makes neither mistake. This is a tight album, saying what it needs to say with the instruments alone.

The closer, "Ocean Song" is the oddball track here, a dreamy soundscape that wouldn't be surprising to find on either an early Steve Roach or later period Tangerine Dream album. All atmospherics and synphonics, this tracks gently lulls you into a place of solitude and peace. Quite a contrast to the rest of the album - and yet, not at all out of place.

Whether you have money burning in your pocket or not, do yourself a favor and pick up this disc.

Indian Dream (7:55) / Train De Vie (4:03) / Memory Of Eagle (8:48) / Tap On Top (4:35) / War (8:10) / Obsession (2:04) / Crossing The Desert (10:07) / Ocean Song (3:39)

Sylvain Gouvernaire - guitars, piano, keyboards, and synth; fretless bass (3)
Ian Mosley - drums
Pete Trewavas - bass
Tarek Aba?-Chanab and Pete Parsons - percussion (4)
Susie Luff - voice (1)

Crossing The Desert (1996)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: May 1st 1998
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1665
Language: english


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