"A Definitive Moment" - "Defining Blue", the new album by Tony Patterson. Review by Alan Hewitt.Yes folks, Tony has been threatening us with this project now for quite a while and some of you may remember the review of the sampler "Dance of The Souls" which appeared in a previous edition of TWR? Well, here at last, is the finished album...
Tony's work as the front man of British Genesis tribute band ReGenesis is well known to most of us, but here he takes us into the world of his own musical influences and displays a variety of musical styles within the course of the album as we shall see...
"Sneak" opens the proceedings with some extremely Gabriel-esque percussion and sampled sounds conjuring up an atmosphere of tension and suspense which is emphasised even more when Tony's flute enters the fray and his vocals are uncannily similar to his alter-ego! An excellent beginning.
"CyniCity/Open These Eyes" takes us further into a dark ethereal place in which the sound of a solitary keyboard is the only chink of light in the impenetrable gloom. The start of this track is definitely evocative of the deep ocean before we are dragged to the surface by an incessant rhythm almost as if a shoal of brightly coloured fish has zipped past our eyes before we return briefly to the peace of the depths. Tony and Carrie Melbourne's plaintive vocals on the latter half of this track accompanied by some excellent keyboard work create a highly charged emotional finale to the track which sends shivers down my spine.
"Dubai" is yet another track that would not out of place on the "Passion" soundtrack. Ethnic instrumentation and an infectious rhythm conjure up images of a camel ride through the desert and exotic market places full of strange sights and sounds whilst also evoking the majesty and beauty of the African continent, a superb track!
"Waterfalls" is a delightfully simple piece trickling down and shimmering just like its subject matter - another beautifully observed piece.
"Green Eyes" brings us firmly back into the rock arena with a solid fuzz guitar opening and catchy rhythm. Once again, Tony's vocalisations are strongly reminiscent of Peter Gabriel which I don't know whether that is deliberate or not but it doesn't detract from the strength of the track itself at all.
"Where It All Began" opens with another shimmering keyboard phrase, and a counterpoint of acoustic guitar and flute stunningly depicting the emptiness of the earth before life began. The Indian chanting which breaks in is replaced by Tony's plaintive vocals which are stunningly placed to add extra emphasis to what is already an extremely emotional track.
"Slow Heat" is another dramatic track combining a synth drone and beautifully understated Indian flutes. Imagine the heat of a summer's day broken only by an occasional breeze and bird song and the distant sounds of a village or town... simply another wonderful piece of mood music.
"Dance Of The Souls" is an altogether more up beat and rhythmically charged piece which would not have been out of place on the soundtrack to "Gladiator". Once again, it takes its inspiration from the rhythms and sounds of Africa and Asia with Tony's vocals adding even more dramatic impact which for me brings to mind images of proud Tuareg tribesmen crossing the plains disdainful of all around them and secure in their own position in the world they live in.
"Open These Eyes (Reprise)" once again continues the rhythm at a running pace with some excellent bass and guitar work giving it a funkier feel than its earlier counterpart but at the same time still maintaining the dramatic feel of the original.
"Saraya Dawn" is definitely Tony Patterson meets Peter Gabriel. This one simply echoes the "Passion" soundtrack and is superbly evocative. If there is a film producer or tv documentary writer reading this review anywhere, get your hands on Mr Patterson, his work ranks with the best here and the comparisons here and elsewhere in this review with Peter Gabriel are not meant to be detrimental, but complimentary. Tony's knowledge of and use of different sound textures and styles is something that Mr Gabriel himself could learn a lesson from!
The album's final track, "Waters Of Life" continues the African theme with a joyous choral opening which is replaced once again by some mysterious synth sounds and what to me at least sounds like a set of pan pipes all of which are wonderful accompaniment to Tony's heartrending vocals ending the album in suitably dramatic fashion.
OK, review over. This album will never be at the top of the charts, let's be honest... it is too thought provoking for that. Both musically, and vocally Tony has brought a range of instruments and vocal styles together and gloriously made them his own. This is an excellent first effort and one which I am delighted to recommend, bravo, Tony!