Thursday, July 14, 2011
You have to respect his crystalline keyboard playing. He's very very gifted. Yes, I'm talking about Yes, again. Really wonderful harmonies. I'm a sucker for that. But also just perfectly tuned sounds. Modulating from rock to pop to sheer ugly to ambience, as the need requires.
Again, sorry for all those who like Wakeman and Kaye, I love them too. Kaye with his incredibly powerful Hammond sound. Wakeman with his slightly frightening virtuosity. But Downes, on this one and Drama, is just vast.
For a very brief taste listen to the first thirty seconds of the first track, the first part of “Fly from Here” (of which more soon, it's incredible). Downes begins with submerged atmospherics. Then the same riff, slightly urgent, more focused. Then the same riff with outrageous, jarring pop intensity. Again, Mahler springs to mind. Ruining the aesthetic distance through ugliness and corny beauty, then displacing that into genuine beauty that is all the more haunting for it.