“A Trick of the Wind” is the fifth solo album from Erik Scott. Scott’s fourth solo album, “In The Company of Clouds,” received Zone Music Reporter (ZMR) awards for Album of the Year award and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016.
“A Trick of the Wind” is brilliant, enlightened, and enlightening. It’s a musical work of art to be appreciated on many levels, not only because of how well done it is overall, but also because you can literally feel the pure heart that pours out of every note. Multi-textured. Contemporary. Unique. If I have to call it something, I’m going to call it “Progressive New Age.” And even that doesn’t really describe it to its best.
Erik Scott is a professional musician, a well-known and former bass player with Alice Cooper and Flo & Eddie, a former co-writer with Ted Nugent, an original member of the band, Sonia Dada, and so much more. But to try to label or categorize Erik Scott, musically, would be a mistake. I think it’s impossible. And most definitely unnecessary. Suffice it to say, for now, he’s a true artist with an impressive musical career spanning 50 years.
I feel like one of his true geniuses, apart from his obvious musical gifts themselves, is to be able to multi-blend several different “genera” into cohesive composition. For example, here we have elements of gospel choir, mixing perfectly with World style music, and even twangy country vibes, on the song, “Solooka.” This kind of intriguing amalgamation of the unexpected occurs throughout the album.
“A Trick of the Wind” is 9 tracks and opens with the song, “Wings.” This is floating and other-worldly. It’s wrapped with intermittent, heavenly, wordless vocals and that wisp in and out at just the right times, and along with the other instrumentation, this creates a very “world” or “global” kind of feel. Yet at the same time we are transported into the mesmerizing ethereal, the song is grounded with Erik’s signature fretless bass and the underlying percussion. This all makes for the perfect opener and we eagerly look forward to all that comes next.
Following is “The Wind Sings a Strange Song.” Aptly named, this is fluent and “groov-y.” And not strange at all. We almost feel as if we ARE the wind — liquid wind, perhaps, which certainly is but one “trick of the wind” — and not just hearing or feeling it.
Track 3, “Ghosts of Storyville,” is amazing, and my ultimate favorite on the album for more than one reason. The unmistakable sultry trumpet and flugelhorn of Jeff Oster, as a guest artist on this song, imparts a deep richness to the magical flow. Again, here we have the ethereal vocals that wind in and out, sounding more like instruments than “vocals.” It’s a fantastic mystical blend.
However, for those that do not know, Storyville was a red-light district located in New Orleans, LA. It was, among other things, a place where musicians, playing to rather open-minded audiences, had the freedom to experiment with different musical styles and therefore were able to combine different musical influences and see what resulted. What emerged from this experimentation and combining of different musical styles was the creation of new musical genres. Interesting, right? And I think that’s what we have here, because we can’t really pigeonhole or typically classify Erik Scott’s interpretive brand of “New Age” music. It’s something quite thought-provoking to bring with you as you immerse yourself in the hues, textures, and tapestries of this album.
Title track 4, “A Trick of the Wind,” is smooth, transcendental, and “trippy,” with a rhythmic percussive underlay. Here the bass sounds almost like a voice itself rather than a bass. This has got an interesting and cinematic feel, without being overly dramatic or pretentious in any way. It’s more like “authentic expansiveness.”
Pipe organ (so interesting!) enters into the mix on track 6, “A Wing and a Prayer,” along with the piano and electric sitar. This has got a nice beat as well, and it all just works.
“The Invisible Wand” is enchanting, incorporating a steel guitar driven country feel with a gospel-like quality, and a world music kind of beat, all interwoven with New Age atmospheric electronica.
“Born Dreaming” is another favorite; an effortless voyage with its dreamy bass and sitar along with synth strings and a graceful rhythm. This has got a distinctly comforting feel. I love this song. It invites us to remember our own dreams. . .and live them.
The album winds down on a cheerful note with the brief and playful, “A Child Remains.” This is a good reminder to remain lighthearted in all, no matter where the wind takes you.
Guest artists on “A Trick of the Wind” include John Pirruccello, Celso Alberti (drum loops, acoustic drums & percussion), John Luttrell (electric guitar), Andy Mitran (percussion), Jeff Pearce (guitar synth), and Jeff Oster (trumpet, flugelhorn). Vocal harmonies are by Larry Batiste, Bryan Dyer, and Sandy Griffith.
Highly recommended for all contemporary New Age music lovers, especially those that are looking for something unique, memorable, and distinctive.