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Greg Segal (USA) - Overall View 3

Prolusion. Greg SEGAL is an American multi-instrumentalist and composer whose creation, I believe, doesn't need any special introduction. He had seven solo albums until now, all of >which, save >"In Search of the Fantastic", were recorded in the second half of the '80s and in the beginning of the '90s. Both of the man's new outings: "The Eye That Shines in Darkness" and "An Awareness of Frameworks" are fresh recordings and are his eighth and ninth efforts on this walk of life. The reviews of Greg's creation within Jugalbandi are >here.

- 2004 - "An Awareness of Framework" *****
(70 min, 'Phantom Airship')


1.  Calling-I 1:34
2.  Spontaneous Knowledge 9:39
3.  The Worlds Open 2:24
4.  The Knowing Eye-I 1:18
5.  Moist Earth-I 2:11
6.  Personal View-I 0:28
7.  The Supernormal 1:17
8.  The Knowing Eye-II 2:12
9.  Black Cavern River 3:54
10. The Lost Night 1:27
11. Soul Catcher 1:51
12. Calling-II 1:41 (Uncalled 23:52)
13. Personal View-II 0:58
14. The Knowing Eye-III 1:57
15. What Is Seen 1:59
16. The Place of Three Roads 2:39
17. The Knowing Eye-IV 1:07
18. Moist Earth-II 2:07
19. Return of the Supernormal 1:18

All tracks: by Segal.


Greg Segal - electric & bass guitars; drums & percussion; recorders

Synopsis. The number of tracks in the CD booklet (19) does not correspond to reality, as there are, in fact, 23. However, most of the bonus tracks represent a bit modified versions of either the entire pieces or the excerpts of those from the original track list, while the last one, lasting nearly 24 minutes, is an original composition and is probably the best number here. I would have titled it properly: Uncalled, and I think it would've been much better if it were placed on track 12, instead of Calling-II, the central theme of which is not unlike that of Calling-I (1). In my view, all those bonus renditions of the previous tracks, and also Calling-II, should have not been included in the album. Having suitably programmed the CD in my player, with the uncalled epic going in the 12th position, I still have a 19-track recording. (So it looks like the original track list just reflects the number of original compositions on the CD.) In that way, two long pieces became available there, standing like the islands in the sea of brief ones, all of which, except the 'looped' What Is Seen (15), are good, but sound like sketches of some composite compositions. Put mentally the prefix "unique" before each of the following terms: Space Rock, Space Fusion, Space Metal, Electronic music, avant-garde, and say, post-modernism, based exclusively on the parts of mallet and metal percussion, mix them, and you'll get a general idea of what the 9-minute Spontaneous Knowledge (2) and the 24-minute Uncalled (23/12), are about. These are eccentrically eclectic, but logically unfolding and, thus, very interesting compositions. Well, there is a long guitar solo in the beginning of the former, sounding almost not unlike The Flight of the Bumblebee by the Russian composer Aram Khachaturyan, but I don't find this a drawback. (This very solo forms all the contents of one of the bonus tracks.) Reductively, the entire album can be defined as a combination of the said directions, as these are 'scattered' throughout, each being the essence of different brief pieces. If the sketches weren't separated from each other, but were fluidly flowing from one to another (tracks 3 to 11 and 13 to 19), they would have formed two long compositions that would've been much like the two available epics and would've been as excellent as them.

Conclusion. Unlike "The Eye That Shines in Darkness", its follow-up is not the sort of thing, which, with its endlessly monotonous loops 'n' reels, is withdrawn into itself. This is music, which is free in its nature and is successful in its delivery, at least on the whole. Like most of his other solo recordings, "An Awareness of Frameworks" clearly displays Greg's constant search for new music forms and, therefore, the continuous transformation of his songwriting style. Despite a few minor flaws, this is a strong effort. So please consider this a recommendatory message.

VM: July 28, 2004

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Greg Segal


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