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TRACK LIST: 1. Chrysanthemum (Torn, Castiglione) 3:10 2. Breath (Torn, Massey) 12:56 3. Gore (=) 2:21 4. Fertile Crescent (Castiglione, Massey) 5:31 5. Godzilla & Rodan (Massey, Castiglione, Torn) 4:45 6. A Short Visit (Castiglione) 5:40 7. The Hoax (Paul Motian) 6:35 8. Nothing Ever Was Anyway (Annette Peacock) 9:02 9. Ascension (Castiglione, Torn, Massey) 4:24 10. The Undertow (Castiglione) 6:28 11. Fudomaio (=) 5:48 All arrangements by: Forever Sharp & Vivid LINE-UP: David Castiglione - saxophones & bass clarinet David Toirn - electric & acoustic guitars; looping Chris Massey - drums & percussion Engineered by T. Mark at "Make Believe Ballroom", NY. Produced by Massey & Castiglione. Edited & mastered by Torn.
Prolusion. It seems that the eponymous Forever Sharp & Vivid album is the only output by this project. While I am well acquainted with the creation of David Torn (here, I mean both of his solo albums released in the second half of the 1980s and a few collaborative ones), the names of the other musicians aren't familiar to me. At one time David was a member of the main LoLo Records-related band, > Gongzilla.
Synopsis. Above all, I'd like to mention that unlike all of the others, each of the first four compositions on this album was performed by two different musicians, and not by the entire trio. In particular, both of Breath and Gore (2 & 3) feature guitarist David Torn and drummer Chris Massey, Chrysanthemum (1) - Torn and saxophonist David Castiglione, and Fertile Crescent (4) - Castiglione and Massey. The latter is the only track here, the music on which represents just an improvisational Jazz-Fusion. All ten of the other compositions on the album are 'children' of Fifth Element based on Jazz-Fusion of a highly unique character, though most of them are different among themselves by the other constituents of Progressive's youngest genre. Well, let's take courage and go deep into the maze of structures that this unique, unusual, yet, very attractive musical entity is created of. The elements of Symphonic Art-Rock are present on those pieces where Torn used either a synth-guitar or synthesizer loops, and only the aforementioned Fertile Crescent, and also Godzilla & Rodan and The Hoax (5 & 7) are free of them. Both of the latter are notable for elements of Avant-garde and Free Jazz, and the first of them contains in addition quite a large quantity of heavy, Metal-related elements. Apart from Godzilla & Rodan, Torn plays an acoustic guitar on the first two tracks here: Chrysanthemum and Breath, on the first of which his guitar sounds very much like the Turkish Saz, and on another the South Indian Sitar. Being just filled with flavors of music of the East, these two sound quite radically different from all of the other compositions here, which is despite the fact that both of them are on the whole about the album's predominant stylistics, too. The elements of music of the East can also be found on those two tracks that, like the said Breath, feature hand drums, and not a traditional drum kit: A Short Visit and The Undertow (6 & 10), and also on Ascension (9) marked with the distinctive solo of electric guitar. There are no powerful drums also on Nothing Ever Was Anyway and Fudomaio (8 & 11) where Massey plays mostly varied cymbals. Finally, it must be said that there are no repetitions on this album, and the arrangements here are always in the state of constant development.
Conclusion. Being by no means everyone's cup of tea, "Forever Sharp & Vivid" is nevertheless a fantastically interesting album full of genuinely fresh ideas and great musical discoveries. Those into any kinds of New Music, and all the other sharp and vivid connoisseurs of Prog, should be much pleased with this ProGduct, though everyone needs at least a few attentive listens to it to get into it forever.
VM: May 12, 2003
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