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(39:30, It's Twilight Time)
TRACK LIST: 1. A Thousand Islands 3:59 2. Clouds and Stars 2:46 3. Heavy Water 5:55 4. Biddeford Pool 4:30 5. Harold’s Budds 6:01 6. The Doorman’s Dairy Dream 4:10 7. Rainy Day Trains 6:33 8. Weathering 5:36 LINEUP: John Orsi – percussion, keyboards Mike Marando – guitars, bass Manny Silva – guitars
Prolusion. The US outfit KNITTING BY TWILIGHT started out back in 1994, initially consisting of John Orsi and Michael Watson, the twosome using this artist moniker for material unsuitable for their other various endeavors. Dawson has since left this collaboration, but Orsi maintains it and uses it in the same manner still. "Weathering" is the most recent effort to be issued under this project name, and was released in 2011.
Analysis. As have been commented on quite a few previous occasions, one of the true pleasures about being involved in the art rock environment is to be able to discover artists that stray from the norm. Music people have created that defies normal style and genre conventions to a lesser or greater degree, artists whose approach is unique in some manner or other. And Knitting By Twilight is a fine example of that, and in more than merely the choice of moniker. Musically we're dealing with a project based around electronic sounds and percussion. Those are the key ingredients throughout, one or both dominating all pieces on this disc. The overall sound is one that probably merits the description dream-laden, and to some extent one might describe the material as related to new age too, at least on a superficial level, and with a marked emphasis on related. Because what John Orsi sets out to accomplish is far more refined in nature than what you'll find on your average disc by the likes of Jarre, Vangelis or Kitaro. "Weathering" isn't a production that pulls its punches either, and generally avoids the cotton candy, all encompassing synth arrangements that are a trademark feature on the most accessible parts of the new age universe. Instead we're treated to a strong emphasis on percussion, mostly Asian inspired and occasionally of a more tribal nature, melodic and accessible just as much as arrhythmic, infrequent and unpredictable, in particular when it comes to the former. And while there's a fair degree of fluctuating synth patterns to be found, the wavelike textures tend to be subtle and a greater emphasis given on droning qualities, and more often than not backed by a variety of textures that don't follow any common harmonic traditions. Robert Fripp-inspired guitar details make the occasional appearance too, and droning quality, dark-toned guitar undercurrents are another infrequent but effective part of the proceedings. There's a rather broad atmospheric span covered too. From the sparse, cold and almost alien sounding landscapes explored on Clouds and Stars to the brooding but organic warmth of Biddeford Pool, from the slow moving, fluctuating drone-like patterns of Rainy Day Trains to the energetic rhythms and grand majestic landscapes that eventually unfolds on Heavy Water: sometimes breathtaking, often intriguing and mostly enthralling. A fine display of innovative music that might be described as avant-garde new age, as oxymoronic as that might sound.
Conclusion. On "Weathering" Knitting By Twilight takes the listener out towards a rather unique musical landscape, where atmospheric textures, world music inspired rhythms and subtly dissonant elements combine into a form of instrumental electronic music that defies most normal genre conventions, rich in mood, occasionally rich in instrumental details too, and of a generally enthralling nature throughout. A production that should interest those fond of innovative music, especially if they find the notion of listening to what inspired musicians might do if they were given the task of transforming accessible new age music into something rather more challenging and intriguing one.
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