I wasn't at first sure how to approach Stephen Savage's Future Memory, and that's an oddly good thing. It's not often that someone can catch me flatfooted. Perhaps the fact that he's taught collegiate classical music for over three decades but got nailed by Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive at the age of 13, which led to Elliott Carter, Varese, and Stockhausen, then John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, and eventually Cage, Reich, and others explains the uncategorizably diverse bricolage of his work. Elements of Jean-Luc Ponty, Happy the Man (and thus Kit Watkins' solo work), Vangelis, Verity, Tim Story, Pat Moraz, and the European 70s fusion jazzsters proliferate in the thirteen cuts of his CD, but there's also a great deal of cinematics going on, and I suspect Savage's true musical calling is filmwork, especially since he can crossflow and complement timbral contrasts so fluidly, represent several emotions at once.
To the disc's detriment, though, what results too often are tone washes rather than what should be undulating degrees of linear coherence in narration. Even cuts like Riding the Cusp don't quite solve that problem—though, again, I clearly see where material like this would fit right in with movie visuals. Still, too much weight and gravity become lost the more the CD progresses, a common trait of soundtracking, purposely so lest sonics overpower the visuals, but too evanescent in a strictly aural presentation. Because of that, the direction of both individual cuts and the disc as a whole soon meanders over the horizon. Future Memory, then, is not so much a music CD as a catalogue of ideas to be worked out at some later date. Rather than capture the listener's attention and keep it, the songs tend to chaperone a form of notational ADD to thirty different locales, too soon forgetting where home-base was.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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