Picture is the recording debut of the quartet Night Ark, led by oud player Ara Dinkjian, who wrote most of the compositions and also plays canoon, cumbus, and Portuguese mandolin. This difficult-to-classify music was often filed under new age, though it was a bit too sophisticated for that label, and, as a result, the label probably had trouble promoting it to radio stations and critics. The leader's unusual interpretation of the Beatles' "Blackbird" opens with unaccompanied percussion and a brief, improvised oud solo before introducing its theme. Dinkjian's strongest compositions, including the lyrical opener "Trees" and the exotic extended suite "Of Song and Silence," feature piano rather than the DX7, which doesn't fit in with the otherwise all-acoustic sound of the group. Night Ark would only make one more recording for Novus before entering a long period of inactivity in the studio before their one-shot effort for Emarcy was recorded a decade following their debut; this long-out-of-print CD may be somewhat difficult to locate.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden