FAME Review: Moraine - Groundswell
Moraine - Groundswell



Moonjune Records - MJR066

Available from Moonjune Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Okay, progficionado, you've been ratting on about the fact that, as much good prog as there is nowadays—and there certainly is, thank God—it jes' ain't like the old days. I know ya have 'cause I can hear you even from my cave in the cliffs of Palos Verdes in SoCal. I sympathize, I really do. Times is tuff, the economy's way the hell down, and the world's run by morons, criminals, and the insane (Republicans, in other words). We're hurting! Well, Moraine and the MoonJune Label are here to reinvest your mournful heart with a megadose of songs sounding like they came off the cutting room floor from the David Cross days of King Crimson with a bit of Groon-y Earthbound tossed in for garni. Sound appetizing? It is, it indeed is, but more than that, it's a 10-course feast of instrumental work that will set you back on your feet after first knocking you off them.

Dennis Rea, Moraine's bellweather, recruited Alicia DeJoie on violin, and if you, like me, were heartbroken when Vertu collapsed so suddenly, leaving string rasper Karen Briggs in the lurch, then you'll be vitamin fortified to catch DeJoie. Not only is she mindful of Cross but also brings memories of Flairck and Aquarelle floating back so very nicely. Horn player James DeJoie (husband?) introduces Mel Collins-esque elements, that Groon-y stuff I interpolated a moment ago, then Dennis steps in and drags us smilingly once again into Fripp, Univers Zero, and faintly Art Zoyd elements…among many others, including old Italian jazzsters like Il Volo. With Tom Tzigone furiously pounding away at his kit and Kevin Millard on NS stick bass, what more could ya want?

Huh?? More? Okay then, you get it. I see Groundswell as a form of answer to Steve Vai's summit days in that two-violin format that surprised everyone a while back. This disc shows whence The Awesome One's rather superb foray derived…and we may wish to note that Stevie never continued what was obviously his real ace card there, his far more literate side. Am I right or am I right? I'm not sure he could've handled it any further than as a one-off, to tell the truth. The guy may technically surpass God on an SG, Les Paul, or Ibanez, but much of his overall oeuvre lacks depth in soul, doesn't quite have the heart it should. Moraine and Groundswell, on the other hand, are grittier, earthier, imbued with timelost sensibilities, and a good deal more explorative (catch Waylaid in particular). Vai was up for novelty in that interlude, damn good novelty at that, but Moraine lives what they play, right down to bone and marrow. Because of that, there's so much more terrain here.

Track List:

  • Mustardseed
  • Skein
  • Fountain of Euthanasia
  • Gnashville
  • In That Distant Place
  • Synecdoche
  • The Earth Is an Atom
  • Waylaid
  • Spiritual Gatecrasher
  • The Okanogan Lobe

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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