Cousins and Conrad — High Seas
(Witchwoood Media WMCD 2025, 2005, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2006-05-01
The old Strawbs troubadour is back on High Seas, collaborating with guitarist/keyboardist Conny Conrad. Eleven tracks totaling fifty-some minutes, with Cousins singing over backing guitar, keyboards (including Mellotron), programmed rhythm section, and so on. Rick Wakeman also contributes piano to one track. The songwriting on this particular outing is not as much to my tastes; compared to the recent Strawbs release Déjà-Fou this album seems somewhat more overwrought and the songs overlong for what’s there. Indeed, there is a great deal of drama here, and even the instrumental parts have a cinematic feel, with great sweeping string sounds and effects. The Strawbs have never been convincing hard rockers; they are at their best as a folky ensemble. In this case, taking Cousins’ songwriting and swathing it in various digitalia smothers some of his strengths, as if he had to arm wrestle wrong-handed. As a collection of songs, High Seas acquits itself well for the most part, but it’s a bit of an uneven marriage and odd fit, and the overall package seems compromised as a result. If all the extra stuff was tossed out and Cousins was singing this over solo acoustic guitar I’d probably enjoy it more. As it is, a bit too much of a mishmash for this writer, but opinions may vary.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more