Spoke Of Shadows is a new project from Herd Of Instinct “Warr guitarist” Mark Cook and drummer Bill Bachman (Neal Morse, Michael Harris). Cook also plays bass, guitar and keyboards, helped by a number of guests, including members of Herd Of Instinct, Gayle Ellett of Djam Karet (on Mellotron) and Michael Harris of Thought Chamber.
Spoke of Shadows was born when Cook was finishing the mixes of the latest Herd Of Instinct release Conjure (2013, see review). After completing two HOI CDs in two years, he wanted to focus on taking his music in a new direction, writing music that was moodier and had more dynamics. He began recording pieces by layering Warr guitars, along with 8 string fretless bass, drums, guitars and keyboards. After a few tracks were written, the project took another turn, when a friend introduced Cook to Bachman. He gave the tracks to Bachman with only one instruction: “play what you normally would not be allowed to play in other bands!”
After some virtual recording sessions, Cook and Bachman met face-to-face for the first time at a Led Zeppelin tribute show in Dallas in 2013, where they discussed the status of their recording project and their love of Genesis. That meeting helped to cement the direction of the music, resulting in this album.
It's an instrumental album and not all that far removed from HOI or Djam Karet. Nice sense of space throughout the entire album. It often settles into a groove with all the soloists having plenty of room to stretch out and strut their stuff. I especially love the cool jazz and Mellotron combination on One Day and the rocking guitar leads, fretless bass and flute solos against a flowing orchestral backdrop on Images.
If you are a fan of King Crimson, HOI or Djam Karet you need to check this album out. Highly recommended!
**** Gert Bruins (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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