Stephen Kent / Steve Roach

Halcyon Days

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The liner notes explain that the ancient Greeks believed that somewhere in the world, the gods calmed the storms of winter for two weeks so the descendants of Alcyon, the once human kingfisher, could lay their eggs on still waters. Halcyon Days, the album, is an interpretation -- a mixture of space music and ethnic instruments -- of this mythical event, and not quite as "quiet" as I would imagine these days to be. At any rate, they are not the quiet you'd find on an angel cloud, but the sultry peacefulness (the sound of the saxophone helps here) you'd find at the edge of a swamp. One thing for sure: the storms may stop, but life doesn't. Joining forces on this odyssey are space music maestro Steve Roach, Stephen Kent (didgeridoo, drums and percussion, cello-sintir, and ocarinas), and Kenneth Newby (various "sound shapeshifting" and exotic instruments). The Halcyon world comes to life as rhythms burble on world percussion instruments, didgeridoo drones swirl like mosquitoes or croak like frogs. Space music effects slither like snakes, create eerie mists, buzz in flight, or plummet in delirium. The music is very cohesive and atmospheric; if removed from the context of the legend, most cuts on Halcyon Days are suitable for trance-dance; "Calyx Revelation" is suitable only for trance, period. Very trippy.

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