Robin Crow

Electric Cinema

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Guitarist Robin Crow gained acclaim with five albums issued on independent labels and relentless touring on the college concert circuit. Rendezvous Entertainment/RCA rewarded him with a major-label contract, and 1992's remarkable instrumental album Electric Cinema was the result. Crow's music, which he himself has described as " Pink Floyd goes instrumental," has a definite new age feel. His guitar style relies heavily on unorthodox tunings, and that adds a distinctive flavor to his work. Crow assembled an all-star backing band for Electric Cinema including former Kansas guitarist/keyboardist Kerry Livgren, former Toto bassist David Hungate, former Journey drummer Larrie Londin, and members of Steve Winwood's band, bassist Michael Rhodes and keyboardist Mike Lawler. "Shooting Stars" is dominated by chiming electric guitar parts and sweet acoustic guitar accents. The lengthy medley "Suite: (Spirits from the Past)" is arguably the album's highlight, and it was a gutsy move linking and rearranging three beloved classic rock staples: Yes' "Roundabout," U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)." "Roundabout" is the best part; Crow uses acoustic guitar on the main vocal melody and the "da da da" vocal coda and electric guitar on the chorus vocal melody. (He also wisely chose to avoid tackling David Gilmour's brilliant guitar solo on the Pink Floyd cover.) "11th Hour" manages to effectively blend a dreamy intro, a soaring lead guitar, a piercing synthesizer, and a hard-rock rhythm section tempo. The soothingly ethereal "Rainmaker" includes faint vocals by Barbara Bailey Hutchison and crisp acoustic guitar strumming. The finale "The Great Abyss" is sparse, slow, and relaxed. Electric Cinema didn't scrape the charts and will be difficult to find, but it's worth hearing, as is any Crow album you might stumble upon.

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