Earlier this year I wrote a review about an album that was called The Stone House (2017, see review). This album was part of a spontaneous live jam in a recording studio. The artists were guitarist Mark Wingfield, touch guitar player Markus Reuter, fretless bass player Yaron Stavi and drummer Asaf Sirkis. Now the album Lighthouse is released, which features the same setting, only without bass player Asaf Stavi. The odd thing about this album is that the afore mentioned musicians were booked for a six day recording marathon and Lighthouse was the first effort that came out of those six days. The Stone House came afterwards and an unnamed upcoming release will close the trilogy that was the outcome of six days of improvisation.
Musically the album is much more unstructured than the previously released, and where I was able to kind of label The Stone House, I'm really getting into trouble here. The spontaneity of recording and the soundscape elements will not appeal to everyone. Even the most die-hard fusionatic or sound freak needs to listen to this album to get convinced to pursue Lighthouse. The longest track Ghost Light does sound interesting, using heavy futuristic sounds from the touch guitar, sometimes reminiscent of King Crimson's Elephant Talk. Notice; just the sounds, not the improvisation. Magnetic also sees a lot of experimenting with (touch) guitar sounds, drenched in whatever effect the guys could get their hands on. At last, so it sounds to me. Personally I do tend to get along with this “strange” music, but I would only play this for a special selection of friends, who can appreciate these kind of chaotic, improvised compositions. I think the album's final track Surge comes the closest to a “real” composition, regular progressive rock fans would find something like a structure in this still fine track.
Although I appreciate the effort of these kinds of spontaneous “compositions” I think releasing three albums out of a six day studio marathon is quite an effort.
Don't compare this album to a Liquid Tension Experience album, as this is way more improvised as the LTE ones. Nevertheless I do like Lighthouse, but on special occasions only.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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