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Steve Howe

and Paul Sutin – Seraphim

Review by Gary Hill

I’m including this release under the Steve Howe heading. Why? Because that’s how it’s listed. The truth is, though, Howe is only really on five of the eight tracks on the set. It’s a reissue of a disc by Paul Sutin. It should be mentioned that Sutin does get credited right on the cover along with Howe, but this is being sold as a Steve Howe and Paul Sutin album, rather than the Paul Sutin release with Steve Howe guesting that it is. The liner notes on this version don’t even reveal that Howe isn’t present on the whole set – although they do on the original Sutin issue of the disc.

The music here is essentially new age. It’s pretty, but, like most of the genre, there isn’t a lot of dynamic change nor a lot of variation. It’s a good disc to listen to, but it’s not a Steve Howe album. It should be noted that I’ve also reviewed this same set as the original album – and the track by track reviews are identical – because the music is identical.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Venetian Passage
I love the main melody on this piece. The cut reflects new age styled keyboard sounds in a lot of ways. This piece doesn't grow quickly, but it does grow. By around the three minute mark, Steve Howe is bringing some hints of country music to the table. In a lot of ways, this is like something Synergy or Tangerine Dream might do. This is a very pretty and effective piece, if understated.
A Light Romance
This is even more gentle and classical in nature. It’s quite pretty and very restive.
Passione Magica
Howe’s role here is far more prominent. This has a lot of acoustic guitar in its midst and it’s a pretty and delicate piece of music. I like it because it represents a bit of a change.
The Substance Of Stars
Keyboard dominated and very new age in nature, this is pretty and exceptionally sedate and slow moving.
Seraphim
The first couple minutes of this are in a mellow keyboard dominated motif that reminds me a lot of Vangelis. Howe’s guitar enters after that and brings a bit of a jazzy edge to the proceedings.
The New Moon
Another mellow track, this is pretty, but not all that different from a lot of the music on the set.
Sequential Fantasy
Perhaps a bit more intricate, this keyboard number is quite pretty and a step up from the last one.
San Marco's Journey
With flute, this is a more Celtic and organic track. Otherwise, it’s not that different from a lot of the music here.
 
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