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(72:35, JAM Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. Flying Hearts 1:36 2. Ocean of Dreams 10:40 3. Flaming Hearts 1:04 4. Born of Water 8:57 5. Children's Song 3:50 6. Kingdom Come 35:24 7. Meadows 11:04 SOLO PILOT: Jeremy Morris - guitars, bass; keyboards; drums
Prolusion. US artist JEREMY has released albums as Jeremy and Jeremy Morris since the early 80's, and has a back catalog so extensive that it dwarfs the output of artists with a much longer pedigree, and one that tends to hold a consistently high quality at that. "Kingdom Come" dates back to 2002, and was released through Jeremy's own label JAM Records.
Analysis. The more I get to know the output of Jeremy Morris, the more I get impressed about the level of variation in his productions. While he's arguably most renowned for his material in the so-called power pop style, he's just as able to create compelling hard rock, psychedelic and progressive rock on one hand and sparse, acoustic productions with acoustic guitar and piano on the other. "Kingdom Come" expands his stylistic palette even further, on this occasion combining his psychedelic oriented tendencies and progressive rock understanding to encompass music that might be described as ambient. The acoustic guitar and the piano are both central elements throughout this album, as providers of compelling lead motifs just as much as establishing supplemental, contrasting motifs to various forms of keyboards, which are the main instrument throughout. Smooth, fluctuating keyboards, light in tone and fairly soft in character, ethereally float above richer, dominant textures that give these compositions a gentle majestic touch, with the aforementioned guitar or piano adding a more organic touch to the proceedings whenever a third and more frail electronic texture isn't present to cater for the more delicate touch. Darker toned, almost inaudible synthesizers will fairly often strengthen the contrast in a subtle manner, and the main part of the rhythm elements are by way of electronic percussion too. The electric guitar is given room to provide fragmented or more ongoing guitar solo runs, and is generally of the kind that merits the use of the word psychedelic, and an occasional, recurring feature is an effect that sounds like a reverse tape effect further strengthening the psychedelic nature of the landscapes explored. Rather than utilizing these elements in compositions that explore and develop themes, with a more or less predictable development, Jeremy focuses on compositions of a different kind here. At least on the greater majority of the tracks, where the title track itself is the best example. That Kingdom Come is a construction that lasts for close to half of the album length probably merits a mention at this point. Even so, this song and the main part of the others at hand appear to revolve around retelling observations of some sort in musical shape. This is done by way of creating different musical landscapes that may or may not be of contrasting character, using one specific element leading the song from one theme to the next, but also by way of using set elements in the transitional phases. Wind synths and acoustic guitars are the most common for this latter aspect, as for the former the single element chosen obviously will be a different one from one occasion to the next. Which gives this album a strong identity actually: themes smoothly segueing into each other rather than developing themes and then using intermediate sections when a new theme is set to be introduced is a different approach, and one that works very well for music of a more ambient nature. The main exception to this approach is found on concluding composition Meadows. Or rather, one might say that the same or a similar approach is used here, but on this occasion whilst exploring themes and landscapes with a much more similar overall expression, this one gives more room to the acoustic elements while exploring a landscape that invites to the use of a word like pastoral to describe it. Otherwise this is a CD that in style and expression is closer to the likes of Gandalf and possibly Tangerine Dream at some points too, at least as far as the more electronic oriented sequences are concerned, while other parts reside within what for me is a lesser known part of the ambient oriented musical universe that revolves more strongly around the use of acoustic instruments. It should probably also be pointed out at this point that this album is one of those productions that document that ambient music is not the same as new age music, since the arrangements tend to be sophisticated constructions using multiple layers of sound, contrasting elements and details of a more subtle nature to create an arrangement that can generally be described as rich and often detailed as well, with sequences of a more sparse nature used as a planned effect rather than accidental feature, and then mainly as a contrast or to establish the premises of a new theme about to be unveiled or explored.
Conclusion. Instrumental landscapes of an ambient nature is what Jeremy's 2002 album "Kingdom Come" is all about, with references to artists such as Gandalf and to some extent Tangerine Dream for the most electronic dominated parts of the contents, but where the greater majority of the landscapes explored contain acoustic or psychedelic elements that in sum makes this production one not directly comparable to those fairly well known providers of ambient and electronic landscapes respectively. Sophisticated ambient music with psychedelic and pastoral elements is probably the best way for me to summarize my impressions about this CD, especially if the word sophisticated is used in this context as well. And if that sounds like compelling music for you, I suspect you'll find much to enjoy on this disc.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 2, 2014
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