Some funk, some jazz and some straight-out party music, and when the likes of Ray Parker Jr., Randy Brecker and Tim Hagans are willing to come along for the ride, it’s bound to keep the recipe going and some good music playing.
Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin (born 1957) belongs to that school of Scandinavian composers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries who are grounded in the techniques of modernism, but who employ those techniques in music that's immensely and immediately appealing to broad audiences in the directness of its emotional reach and the attractiveness of its sound. The three pieces recorded here, an orchestral work, a percussion concerto and a concerto for six percussionists, reveal a composer with an extraordinarily colorful orchestrational palette, fine sense of large musical structure, and an elemental rhythmic vitality.
It was hardly a surprise that the follow-up to M's debut album didn't contain a song as groundbreaking as "Pop Muzik" – or a tune that was anywhere near as big a hit as his one and only global chart-topper. Instead of trying to duplicate that near-perfect slice of electro, M (aka Robin Scott) veered off in several directions, exploring a slightly rockier sound as well as a fair amount of experimental noodling.
The two guitarists take the opportunity on “Father And Son” to explore and to exploit these multiple possibilities to the full: “Irish Vagabond” combines full-on Irish folk music with Arabic elements. “Mistral” is rhythmically punchy, almost like a rock tune, and also has echoes of Al Di Meola. In this tune Ulf Wakenius recounts an experience he had while on tour with Youn Sun Nah. At the Avignon Festival, a powerful wind from the South “almost blew me off the stage, so I decided to write a song about it.” Their “Eleanor Rigby” is captivating; as they honour the Beatles, they achieve a sonority remarkably close to a string quartet. “Paco’s Delight” pays tribute to the unforgettable Paco de Lucía, but their Spanish flamenco technique is also imbued with the buoyancy and verve of Django Reinhardt’s Hot Club swing.