Atlantæum Flood’s One Day isn’t really folk music, per se. Rather, it’s a (mostly acoustic) musical journey with wonderous electric guitar that is “the brainchild” of Steve Knott (who wrote the music) and involves none other than Marty Willson- Piper of The Church fame.
A bit of history.
You see, Mike Oldfield recorded Tubular Bells. It sold a ton of albums. And then the clarion call went out for similar instrumental mega-sellers. And, as a prog lover, I bought them all—Jade Warrior’s wonderous Island albums, Tom Newman’s Faerie Symphony, Gordon Giltrap’s Peacock Party, an Anthony Phillips record here and there, and stuff like Caravan’s one-time bassist John G. Perry’s Sunset Wading. Even the Finnish bassist Pekka Pohjola (of Wigwam fame!) was given a Virgin release with his Keesojen Lehto (aka The Mathematician’s Air Display) which featured the before-mentioned Mike Oldfield and his sister Sally. And, as an eternal prog devotee, I loved them all.
This album warms those historical progressive memories. It’s a thematically timed record that begins with ‘Sunrise’, moves to ‘After Sunrise’, goes through ‘Noon’, ‘Sunset’, and, finally, ‘Before’ and ‘After Midnight’. So, for lovers of that late 70’s breed of somewhat serene arty albums, this is a nice time machine ride to that truly beautiful sound.
And speaking of beauty, this record has gorgeous vinyl grooves that quietly burn. Oh my! This album simply begs and bleeds that instrumental charm.
Of course, it begins with the singing of birds and guitars that welcome any sunrise. That’s a pre-requisite for a musical trip into contemplation. Then ‘Before Sunrise’ gently surges upward, like the morning sun. Marty W-P’s guitar is warm and joyous. ‘After Sunrise’ is acoustic reverie, with even more warm electric guitar that rekindles the gentle thoughtfulness of an Argus era Wishbone Ash.
Granted, this is the stuff that sent late 70’s music critics into Sex Pistol shows, but I don’t care. I really like all that punk stuff, but the poet John Keats did write, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”, and this album chases those “unheard melodies”, so yeah, let the ‘soft pipes play on’.
The two ‘Noon’ tunes sing with Olivia Willson-Piper’s violin and Dare Mason’s percussion. Again, the absolute watery ‘Leaf and Stream’ charm of Wishbone Ash is echoed. And the second part of the song simply flows like a wah-wah winning poker hand flush, and then ends with an acoustic touch.
The ‘Sunset’ stuff is quick with a Spanish vibe. It’s a nice change of pace. That violin burns with the vibe of the first ending rays of any day’s sunset. And then the sun dims with a lovely electric guitar solo that conjures an emotional prayer like the playing of Andy Latimer of the great band Camel, circa Snow Goose.
‘Midnight’ ends the record with the odd intensity of a guitar and violin’s last dance. Two lovers struggle; it is the moment between all the days. And then there is a placid resolve, as the album spins into its own tranquility.
So, this album doesn’t rock. But it does sing about the day, any day in which “beauty and truth” still pervade the human heart with a glorious sunrise and a contemplative sunset. Sometimes music just dissolves into our circular sun. And this record simply plays that song.
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