Noisy Records [Release date 17.01.20]
David Cross will be best known for his time with King Crimson in the 1970s. His more recent solo works and collaborations (with the likes of one-time Van Der Graaf sax player David Jackson and Andrew Booker) have sometimes provided esoteric and less accessible soundscapes. ‘Crossover’ will be of immediate interest as containing the last new album of material from original Yes guitarist Peter Banks.
Banks and Cross collaborated at the latter’s studio in 2010, three years before Banks’ death. It was a session of improvisation rather than strict song structure. However, these recordings – now rescued and restored – have been enhanced with additional (and sympathetic) contributions from a range of prog rock musicians. These include Geoff Downes and Billy Sherwood (Yes).
Banks’ own guitar interjections mainly provide sonic colouring and it is left to Cross (and guests) to fill in the gaps. This is evident on the fusion piece (and standout) ‘Upshift’ which is keyboard-led (Tony Kaye/Oliver Wakeman).
The Mahavishnu Orchestra-esque ‘The Work Within’ and ‘Missing Time’ are contemplative excursions for Cross’ violin against Banks’ volume swells and arpeggios. The stark poignancy of these pieces is continued in ‘Plasma Drive’ which is enhanced with Billy Sherwood’s strident bass lines and Wakeman’s moog figures.
Peter Banks was an innovative, idiosyncratic player perhaps best discovered on the posthumous ‘Anthology’ or via ‘The Self-Contained Trilogy’ (both 2018) .
‘Crossover’ , though, can be enjoyed in its own right as an evocative piece of ambient fusion. Nice cover, too. ***1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 September 2020.
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