Michael Fremer Rated 10/11 Music, 9/11 Sonics!
Sam (Floating Points): Pharoah...
Sam: Were you asleep? I'm sorry...
Pharoah: No no... I was listening... and dreaming... and listening to music in my head...
Sam: Oh wow... sorry.
Pharoah: Many times, people think I might be asleep... but in fact, I am just listening to music in my head. I'm always listening... to the sounds around me... and playing, in my mind... and sometimes I dream.
Sam: What were you dreaming about?
Pharoah: I'm on a ship. In the ocean. Bears coming around smoking cigars. The bears are singing, 'We have the music. We have what you're looking for.'
Pharoah: How you like that take, Sam?
Sam: It's cool. I think the bit in the middle, where it stops again...I think you can hear...We were both kind of confused. I like it as well because it sounds like two musicians that are trying to guide each other.
Pharoah: I think that's it right there. It came out different. It came out good though.
Sam: You happy?
Pharoah: Yeah, I'm cool with it.
Sam: Okay. Yeah, I think your playing is beautiful.
The all-star collaboration between a producer, a saxophonist, and a symphony is a celestial event. But it's Pharoah Sanders' playing that holds it all together, a clear late-career masterpiece.
Sanders' playing is soft and lyrical, not so much searching as observing, like he's strolling down a densely wooded path with Shepherd's recurrent arpeggio flickering like sunlight through gaps in trees....There's a gradual ebb and flow through the first four movements, the last of which is enhanced by Sanders' friendly vocal trills. His saxophone then becomes more active and clustered, yet tightly controlled, and early into the sixth movement yields to a mass of strings signifying a looming threat that dissipates before turning violent, seemingly cradled into silence. Up springs the arpeggio and Sanders' saxophone, placid until invigorated by swirling electronics. Sanders emits piquant beams, never quite blasts, and fades out by the end of the seventh movement. Droning organs and violins that whisk and wrench are centered in the two final movements, finishing the suite with a sense of uncertainty. The trip is well worth completing despite Sanders' early exit.
This is a record you can play repeatedly and get lost every time in its magic. I've been playing an RTI test pressing sent to me at the end of December by a friend of Shepherd's and remain mesmerized with every play by the mostly dreamy, meditative music and the pristine sound, including Sanders' sax, which floats serenely between the speakers.
- 1st New Pharaoh Sanders Album In Over A Decade
- Vinyl LP
- Die-Cut Gatefold Sleeve
|Pharoah Sanders||tenor saxophone and voice|
|Sam Shepherd||piano, harpischord, celesta, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3, Oberheim 4 voice & OB-Xa, Solina String Ensemble, Therevox ET-4.3, EMS Synthi, ARP 2600 & Buchla200e|
|London Symphony Orchestra|
- Promises (Movements 1-5)
- Promises (Movements 6-9)