DISTANT HILLS, Oregon's 1973 follow-up to MUSIC FROM ANOTHER PRESENT ERA, is as eclectic, genre-bending, and pleasurable as its predecessor. The unique talents of multi-instrumentalists Collin Walcott, Glen Moore, Ralph Towner, and Paul McCandless work together in a fashion that recalls the collective precision of 20th-century classical chamber music, yet with the range and improvisatory flair of jazz.
Like most of Oregon's output, DISTANT HILLS is marked by forays into trans-global sounds. The sitar-fueled "Dark Spirit," for example, conjures uneasy, snake-charmer dreams, and the bongos-and-violin duet of "Mi Chinita Suite" sounds like an avant-garde recital in the Amazon. The high, reedy keen of "Confession" and the dramatic shape-shifting of "Canyon Song" testify to the fact that although Oregon's music is quite accessible, at its root it is dedicated to vital experimentation.