Wolflight - A musical adventure - February 2015
Steve playing oud
Sara Kovacs on didgeridoo
My new album Wolflight has taken me sonically on a journey both around the world and backwards in time. On the album are some brilliant musicians and a great array of instruments. We even use a real wolf cry, both at the beginning before the music kicks in and later on as a frozen reverb note.
Kicking off the track 'Wolflight' are the exotic strains of Malik Mansurov's tar, an ancient instrument. The name 'tar' meaning 'gut' is the root word for many stringed instruments such as guitar and sitar. Malik, who hails from Azerbaijan, plays in a style known as Mougham, a tradition originating with the wild tribes of the Steppes, Siberia and Mongolia... The very people the song 'Wolflight' is about.
Courtesy of Tamas Barabas and Attila Égerházi of Djabe, we recorded Malik's tar in Hungary. Here we also recorded Sara Kovacs playing digeridoo, which throbs beneath the tar giving even more of a prehistoric feel to the song's introduction. It was fascinating to observe the player's circular breathing on this incredible instrument.
Continuing the primal theme, 'Corycian Fire' features Rob Townsend on duduk. Combined with the strains of a harp at the beginning and later darbukkah drum, it has an otherworldly quality, setting the scene for the song which transports us back in time to the wild side of Ancient Greece where the god Dionysus was invoked and reawakened by women performing rights going way back in time...
Having been fascinated by the evocative music on my trip to Morocco, I decided to have a go at learning one of those exotic instruments of the desert. I bought an Iraqi oud (fretless lute) and took on the challenge. It's very hard to tune, but intriguing to play when those magical sounds start to speak back to you. My oud performance features briefly a couple of times on 'Dust and Dreams'... A piece of music designed to evoke the soul of the desert.
I play an Indian guitar along with banjo and twelve string at the beginning of 'Black Thunder', which all combined together give it that elemental Deep South Delta feel.
Beyond the instruments from far flung places, the album features various guitars from me, including electric, acoustic and twelve string, fantastic atmospheric sax from Rob Townsend on 'Black Thunder', powerful drums on several tracks from Gary O'Toole and some fabulous keyboard creations throughout from Roger King. It also features exceptional bass players Nick Beggs and Chris Squire. You can hear Chris' distinctive bass sound on 'Love Song to A Vampire' and Nick really going for it on 'Black Thunder' with bass and stick. Christine Townsend adds to the big orchestral sounds with her sublime violin and viola playing. Amanda Lehmann joins me with her beautiful vocal harmonies on several tracks.
It's been a great musical adventure, ranging from the wild exotic to orchestral sweeps, from powerful rock guitar to gentle acoustic... It takes us backwards and forwards in time. My thanks to everyone who contributed to making this album so extraordinary and multi-dimensional...
Chris Squire and Nick Beggs
Malik Mansurov on tar
Multi-instrumentalist Rob Townsend
All things digital - Roger King