Sunday, November 20, 2016

Marcus Corbett: “Every Little Spirit” (2016) CD Review

Marcus Corbett is a talented guitarist, singer and composer who divides his time between England and India. His new album, Every Little Spirit, shows the influences of these two places on his music. This CD follows his 2013 release, Strung Deep, and its opening track, “Strung Deep,” is actually a reworking of a tune from that earlier CD, “Castanets.”  “Strung Deep” is a beautiful, wonderful track that immediately transports me out of my current surroundings. And hey, isn’t that what all of us in the U.S. want right about now? America has proved itself a failure, and so all escape routes seem attractive, none more so than music. And this song features some excellent vocals by Saylee Talwalkar, Sam Williams and Marcus Corbett. “Yeah, I woke up from a deep sleep.” There is a very positive, bright feel to this music, an optimism that I want to hold onto. Nitin Gaikwad is on tabla and Milind Date is on bansuri.

“Strung Deep” is followed by “Loving Kind,” a song that had me smiling approximately fifteen seconds in. This too has a positive energy. Something about that main guitar line works on me in a delightful way, like gently insisting that the world is a good place and that we really have no option but to be grateful for its beauty. And the flute is a part of that beauty. Sharanappa Guttaragi is on tabla on this track.

“No Time” begins with tabla, before the strings come in. Sachin Ingale and Sanjay Upadhye are on violin, and Bruno Guastalla is on cello, and for a while this track is a rather relaxing instrumental. Then, it seems to me, slight touches of chaos are introduced to the sound. And yet the pulse of the song remains true, which again seems to offer hope. “No Time” leads directly into “Get Set Free.” “And when am I going to get my money back?” That line surprises me every time, seeming at odds with the sort of spiritual, beautiful sounds created.

“Loving Kind (Extended) Pt. I” takes that wonderful feel of the second track and expands upon it. The first time I listened to this CD, something about this one reminded me of certain tunes by Donovan, some of the tracks from his Hurdy Gurdy Man album. This is a nice long track, more than thirteen minutes, and it slides straight into the next track, “Loving Kind (Extended) Pt. II,” with the percussion playing a prominent part.

“Sitting On A Cloud” has a different vibe, with a somewhat darker sound at the start, the way the guitar is tuned, and the way it works in conjunction with the violins. Anjali Singde-Rao and Sanjay Upadhye are on violin on this track. Also, it seems to have a strange progressive rock bent at certain moments, and some lines are delivered almost as spoken word. This is a really intriguing tune, and it takes a couple of interesting turns. At almost seventeen minutes, it certainly has the room to explore those different avenues. The song leads directly into “Nothing More Than This,” which concludes the CD. “Nothing more than this will pass my lips.”

CD Track List
  1. Strung Deep
  2. Loving Kind
  3. No Time
  4. Get Set Free
  5. Loving Kind (Extended) Pt. I
  6. Loving Kind (Extended) Pt. II
  7. Sitting On A Cloud
  8. Nothing More Than This
Every Little Spirit was released on October 17, 2016.

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