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Jade Warrior

Wind Borne - The Island Albums 1974-1978

Review by Gary Hill

This new box set gathers up four albums from Jade Warriors into this four-CD set. The discs are all remastered, and each is comes in its own cardboard sleeve. Encased in a cardboard clamshell box, this includes an informative book. The music here is all instrumental. It has quite a range of sound, with some albums leaning more in one direction or another. The types of sound present here includes references from fusion, prog, world music, classical, folk and more. It's always interesting. At times the dynamic range is about as wide as you can get, moving from passages that require turning the volume up high to hear them to loud bombast. It's quite an intriguing collection of music.

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Track by Track Review
CD One:
Floating World
Originally released in 1974

Textural beauty starts this. Intricate acoustic guitar takes over for a short time. Then more texture returns and builds to a bombastic climax. Rather than giving way to a more rocking movement, it seems to end there before other textures and a noisy guitar that almost sounds like an elephant is heard in a rather freeform and experimental arrangement. It gets blasts of loud percussion added to the mix. Mellow, melodic world music emerges from there. This eventually segues into the next number.

Mountain of Fruit and Flowers
Coming out of the previous tune, this takes on a more cohesive vibe and turns into more rocking zones as it grows. Some jazzy acoustic guitar comes over the top later. The jamming gets pretty intense as it continues building. There are definitely some fusion vibes along with world music and more on this track. It peaks, and then drops to mellow zones to move into the next number.
Intricate instrumental work rises up as this comes out of the quieter zones left behind after the last piece. Slow moving, expressive electric guitar paints pictures over the top of this gentle tapestry. After it peaks, this drops away. A percussion movement takes control from there. It feels tribal in nature. A flute eventually works into the mix. It eventually gives way to more mellow world music styled sounds.
Red Lotus
A hard rocking arrangement comes in presenting a stark contrast to the sounds we've heard thus far. This isn't all that proggy, but rather more nearly blues rocking. It drops to mellower, sort of folk prog zones mid-track.
Clouds II
This shorter piece is rather mellow and atmospheric. It does build to a quick blast of bombast later.
Rain Flower
Although this comes in mellow, it does have some electric guitar in the mix. As it grows outward to a melodic prog jam, it gains a prominent acoustic over which the eclectic creates melodies.
I dig the trippy kind of mellow vibe that starts this track. The number works out to more of a folk prog meets world music concept. Flute dances over this at times. As it builds, it gets into a real jazzy sort of groove later. Electric guitar emerges for a short time later, but then the track drops way down to end.
Monkey Chant
This has non-lyrical vocals. It comes in with a real tribal vibe. Noisy electric guitar comes in after a loud chant. The voices at the ends we're brought back to the opening movement.
Memories of a Distant Sea
Acoustic guitar and flute work together to create a pretty and sedate tapestry of sound. Other elements emerge later, but in service of the same basic muse. It does electrify just a little before it's over.
A mellower, acoustic guitar based number, this is very folk like. It has elements beyond the acoustic, including some electric guitar, bringing proggy vibes to it. There are some world vocals in another language. A crash of sound later sees the cut get invigorated and intensified right at the end.
CD Two:
Originally released in 1975
Waves – Part One

This first part of "Waves" runs nearly 19-minutes. It comes in very sedate, barely above silence, and gradually grows upward in a textural way. It gradually gets louder and more involved. Various instruments rise to the top. Then it seems to end after the five-minute mark. Piano brings in a more moving melody. Percussion is added to it, and then other instruments join. It takes on a real jazz-like approach. They really evolve this in some great ways as they continue to jam on its foundations. Around the ten-and-a-half-minute mark it drops to an acoustic guitar movement. It begins to gradually build back outward from there. An electric guitar comes in, painting passionate lines of sound over the top of the expanded arrangement. This part is more decidedly progressive rock oriented. The other elements drop away, leaving just that acoustic guitar by around the 12-and-a-half-minute mark, but then it works out to a cool jazzy jam based on guitar and piano from there. This gets more purely proggy before it fades downward to drop away. Then a new acoustic guitar arrangement takes over from there. The motif fills out with some flute dancing over the top as it grows. There is some melodic electric guitar heard at times. That movement eventually fades down to end the track.

Waves – Part Two
This is nearly 25 minutes long. It starts ambient with the sounds of a jungle environment rising upward. Tribal drums can eventually be heard in the backdrop. A mellow proggy sound eventually emerges and builds upward to a peak. From there we get a drop back to a new folk prog styled sound. The jungle sounds remain, but not the percussion. Eventually, though, even the sounds of the wild drop away, leaving a slowly evolving vision of musical beauty behind. That eventually fades away, and chimes take over. The cut builds outward methodically from there. Eventually electric guitar joins and we're taken out into a cool fusion styled jam. The guitar soloing on this movement gets quite intense and rocking. A cool synthesizer that sounds very horn like comes in to solo later. They continue to build this thing out as a smoking hot,  funky fusion excursion. We're eventually dropped back into a pastoral sort of mellow prog jam around the mid-point of the piece. Intricate acoustic guitar soloing takes over for a time later, but the mellower prog concepts continue from there. This evolves nicely. with various mellow prog concepts controlling for a time and then giving way to more great music. Some spacey keyboard stuff takes over near the end to eventually end the piece.
CD Three:
Originally released in 1976
Song of the Forest

It's hard to imagine anything quieter than the first parts of this other than pure silence. Eventually mellow music emerges and grows gradually upward. We get some electronic elements along with more organic ones. It turns to some classical bombast as it continues and segues into the next track.

Wind Song
Coming out of the last track, there is a gong early, but overall this is based mostly on chimes and other percussive elements in a mellow arrangement. Some hints of melody emerge later as sheets of chorale sound over the top.  Eventually more of a full folk prog treatment emerges and takes it into the next track.
The Emperor Kite
Although quite organic, and featuring some tuned percussion and world music vibes, this gets into some rather fusion-like territory. It has a classical feeling to it at times, too. This has some seriously driving moments and some killer twists and turns along with a lot of a drama. It hits a crescendo, and then quite elements take it into the next piece.
Wind Borne
This is particularly mellow, but it also has a sense of mystery to its rather sparse musical concept. This grows out into a world music meets jazz vibe. It becomes a really catchy groove that works particularly well. There are symphonic elements, and a suitably soaring sort of feeling at play here. It gets almost funky at points as the jazzy treatments really take over. That vibe with a cool rhythmic groove segues this into the next piece.
Kite Song
Coming out of the last number, mellower jazz vibes take control here. There is some folk prog mixed in that becomes more prominent as it continues. This gradually fades downward to some seriously mellow territory from there.
Land of the Warrior
This comes in particularly quiet and sedate, and it evolves very slowly with some atmospherics and world music at its core. An Asian-leaning thing brings a slightly louder arrangement around the halfway mark. The cut continues by revisiting that here and there amidst more atmospheric stuff.
Quietly by the River Bank
Mellow atmospherics are at the heart as this gets underway after a quick burst of bombast. It holds it, building gradually, for quite a while. Then again, "quietly" is in the title.
Arrival of the Emperor: “What Does the Venerable Sir Do?”
Asian world music emerges and takes control. This gets bombastic at times as it moves forward. It eventually gets into some more or less classical, yet rocking,  territory further down the road.
Teh Ch’Eng: “Do You Understand This?”
I dig the balance between mellower and more rocking sounds here. This has a real experimental, but at times world music vibe at play, too.
Arrival of Chia Shan: “Disclosure and Liberation”
This comes in like an extension of the piece that preceded it. There are some more pure prog rock things that emerge at times, but mellow concepts take control at times. This is very free-form in nature. Powerful, but mellow, proggy stuff is heard further down the road.
Towards the Mountains
Largely mellow, this has some more powered up, symphonic things bring it up at times.
The Last Question
This piece is only a little over half-a-minute long. It has some acoustic guitar, but also a large patch of silence followed by a loud blast and more silence. It's odd, but seems an appropriate way to end this unusual third album of the set.
CD Four:
Way Of The Sun
Originally released in 1978
Sun Ra

A gong flourish gives way to a dreamy sort of bouncy, symphonic journey. It's light in nature. That gives way to more of a fast-paced progressive rock vibe that at times calls to mind symphonic Yes, mainly from the bass guitar sound. This gets into some energized and really powerful progressive rock. It retains that symphonic  angle, but also gets quite driving and rocking. This peaks and then segues into the next piece.

Sun Child
A dreamy, but still rather playful and sedate world meets folk and symphonic section comes in as this gets underway from the last one. This gets into more exploratory prog rock zones further down the road. It gets pretty bombastic at times. I can hear hints of things ranging from Rick Wakeman to Nektar.
Coming in quite sedate, this provides a stark contrast to the powerful vibes that ended the last track. It grows with intricate guitar playing and other elements at play. Flute dances over the top, and other symphonic things lend their own magic to it. A cool interplay between electric and acoustic  guitar later is all class. There is a real folk prog vibe to later parts of this, along with an intricate beauty.
Heaven Stone
Chimes get this going, seeming to flow out of the last piece. The track gets a jazz fusion kind of building process that joins after a time. The cut gets into more of that folk prog territory further down the road. I love the killer acoustic guitar interplay that emerges later. Electric guitar joins later as this moves toward more rocking zones before shifting into the next piece.
Way of the Sun
This comes in mellow and moves out to a jazzy sort of jam that has a rather Latin rhythmic groove to it. They really intensify this and rock it out. There is some cool piano work later that brings a bit of a bombast to it. The number keeps evolving as flute and other instruments dance over the top. Don't get comfortable any place, because this is one of the most dynamic things here. It just keeps getting reinvented. There are some parts that are much more rock oriented.
River Song
Mellower, modes start this. Some fairly rocking guitar rises up, before the piece turns toward intricate balladic sounds. It gets into some gentle folk prog territory as it continues. Then it turns more rocking, at least in terms of tempo. There are some definite fusion aspects as it gets moving onward. This is definitely melodic, but also up-tempo. The flute delivers some really classy jamming.
Coming out of the previous tune, this is more powered up and rocking in nature. It combines fusion and proggy vibes. There is a bit of a Latin groove to it. It has some smoking hot electric guitar soloing, too. In some ways this makes me think of Al Di Meola. It gets some bursts of bombastic jazz built into it, too. At less than two-and-a-half-minutes long, this is short, but also powerful.
Dance of the Sun
Something that seems a little like whale song starts this. The cut begins to build outward gradually from there. It turns somewhat freeform for a time. Then a tribal drumming takes over. Fusion sounds come in over the top of that, and the track starts evolving from there. There are definitely more pure prog concepts at play later, but the rhythm remains intact. This is a killer track with some intriguing evolution.
Death of Ra
This comes in mellower and grows outward with an intricate arrangement that is methodical. It has some elements of fusion, folk prog and world music all melded into something that's quite satisfying. The slow moving guitar solo section later is so classy. That begins to intensify as it continues holding the track. There is a sadness, but also a real majesty to it. A dramatic and somewhat noisy burst of sound gives way to a drop back to acoustic guitar. Then a dreamy, flighty sort of organic thing takes it to end the piece.
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