2009 / 2014 / Erk Scott
Review by Kathy Parsons
Although Spirits is only his third solo release, bassist Erik Scott has had a lifelong career in music that began in the late 1960’s, mostly in rock bands. Now in his own later 60’s, Scott has reinvented himself as an instrumentalist - and a very impressive one at that! Some of the material on Spirits was previously released, but Scott is now embarking on the arduous task of getting his original music more widely heard. Once that starts to happen, I can almost guarantee that Erik Scott will be climbing to the top of the charts on a regular basis (pun sort of intended!).
In addition to composing and arranging the music, Scott performs on baritone guitar, fretless and fretted bass, keyboards, drum and percussion programming, and bass-generated FX. Guest artists appear on drums, guitars, mandolin, piano, organ, veille violin, flute and English whistle, creating a sound that is unique yet accessible and very beautiful. Scott’s rock roots are clearly there, but with a calming new age-y/prog rock influence that will keep your toes tapping as you mellow out. Within the contemporary instrumental realm, it seems rather uncommon to hear the real joy of making music, and that could be Scott’s secret ingredient - fun! Not that it’s all light and carefree - quite the opposite - but there is a very strong and positive spirit in the thirteen tracks. In his own words: “I made the music with a certain artistic defiance....genre and marketing be damned. If [an artist] can achieve the power of soulful nuanced beauty...so haunting it compels a response from the listener, visceral or emotional, it sticks.” Amen!
Spirits begins with “Peace on Saturn,” a gorgeous piece that features John Pirruccello on steel guitar and Scott on bass. Almost tropical in flavor, warmth and contentment flow through every note. “Other Planets” is built with a variety of layers of sounds and effects, but the overall feeling is serenity while floating peacefully through space. “Free” was inspired in part by a trip to the Scottish Highlands and a reminder of the price so many have paid for their freedom. The melody was originally composed for the bass, but when Scott heard the haunting quality of Shira Kammens’ veille (medieval violin), he made some changes. Emotional and very visual, this would make a terrific addition to a film soundtrack. “Run” also has very full instrumentation, a driving rhythm and a Celtic spirit. The Beatles’ “Yesterday” is a happy surprise as a duet for bass and steel guitar with strings in the background - definitely an ensemble you don’t hear very often! “Battle For Neverland (Re-Mix)” has a strong folk influence, with bass, veille, bagpipes, organ, strings and percussion - a joyful romp! The darkly mysterious and very rhythmic “And the Earth Bleeds” would also lend itself to dramatic visuals - love it! “Gypsy Mother and the Royal Bastard” is listed as an “encore” - perhaps to avoid ending with track 13. Its dark power is haunting while the compelling rhythms keep it moving forward - great stuff!
I would expect that Spirits will connect with a very large audience and will do much to make Erik Scott’s name much more widely-known. Spirits available from Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby. Highly recommended!
November 22, 2014