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Spirits Burning

and Clearlight - Healthy Music in Large Doses

Review by Gary Hill

Spirits Burning does a lot of varied material. That’s particularly true when it’s a collaboration with various other artists. This disc in particular leans along the lines of fusion at times. It’s quite a good set that also has some hints of things like Kraftwerk at times.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Treasures at the Dawn of the Century

There’s almost an electronic groove as this opens. Then it shifts towards some funky fusion territory. This is a killer jam that has a lot of intriguing melodies all packed into a real groove.  There are bits here that make me think just a bit of Kraftwerk, but other bits that call to mind Al DiMeola and the percussion is quite world music like.

Raised On Coal and Oil
If the last tune had a lot of fusion in the mix, this one is thoroughly rooted in it. In fact, there is a lot of old school jazz here. Still, there is some prog rock and some world music encased within these borders, too. Violin is integral to this piece, but the piano work is certainly worth mentioning, too. There is some great synthesizer sound here, as well. It gets quite lush and leans towards space rock later in the piece.
Our Secret Cloud

This reminds me a lot of Enya’s music. It’s got a lot of world music in the mix. It also has waves of chant type singing. It’s a lot more organic than the two openers. It’s equally tasty and a nice change of pace.

Infinite City
World music meets jazz on this tune. There are some French spoken vocals and some killer horn playing. This is an awesome piece of music. After a time, it shifts out to a more pure fusion jam. There are a number of awesome shifts and changes in this thing. It’s quite a diverse and growing piece. Somehow, with the spoken vocals, parts of this remind me of the band Halloween.
Hand Signals and Daily Horoscopes
Here we get an energized tune that combines fusion, progressive rock and more pure jazz. It’s got some rather noisy moments, but also some killer soloing.
Cool Can of Cola On the Forehead

This is a playful jam. It has a lot of world music and a lot of fusion built into it. I like it a lot. There’s a killer melodic jam later that’s understated, but very tasty. There are some hints of country at times later. There’s also a jam further along that makes me think of Booker T a bit.

Healing Power of Magnets

On the one hand, this is a slow moving, somewhat atmospheric jam. That said, the soloing (and even some of the backing music) really rocks. It’s kind of a cool contrast of sounds. The bass line is great and really works, but somehow sits in the background. At times I’m reminded of early Pink Floyd on this thing. It does get some hints of world music and some other elements later as it moves towards more pure fusion.

Travellin' Sideways

This feels a bit more organic than some of the other music. Still, it’s got both the retro keyboards and some space rock elements in place. This is a bit less dynamic than some of the other tunes, with the changes coming a lot slower and more gradually.

The Kingdom of Music

Keyboards open this one in fine fashion and the cut comes tentatively out from there. It doesn’t really rise up far, but instead stays in the realm of almost atmospheric, but very dramatic, music. Eventually, though, more energy enters and this does rock out a bit.

In Search of Friends On the Day of Masks

Some of the guitar that wanders on in this cut reminds me of Steve Howe. There are some more mainstream mellower old school music here, but also some things that are weirder and more science fiction or space oriented.

Italian Lake

This starts with a bit of a world music vibe. As it continues that’s tempered with something that feels a bit like classical along with some serious space music.

The Road to Shave Ice

Here’s one that’s pretty weird. Space music, atmosphere and world sounds merge into a rather bizarre, but still quite effective, piece of music. It drops to some very weird textural elements as it continues.

Bring It Down

Reggae mixed with space rock and jazz is the order of business as this opens. It’s got some real vocals. It’s a cool rocker. There is a bit of a Hawkwind vibe to it at times. Sort of like a cross between Hawkind and Bob Marley. There is some cool saxophone soloing on this thing later. It really does work out to a cool space rock jam as it continues.

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