SPIRIT / BOB MARSH / JIM RYAN – Hommage To Spirit


This is a unique item, whose importance may be a little overlooked amidst the frills, bells and whistles of many lavishly produced artifacts containing a fifth of the artistic and metaphysical values present herein. It’s a 16GB USB card replete with music, images and information; essentially, all the available audio and video recordings by the collective force of percussionist Spirit, cellist Bob Marsh and reedist Jim Ryan, their joint action spreading across the 2008-9 biennium. Previously unreleased materials are bracketed by remastered versions of Spirit’s splendid solo set Preface To God and the trio’s The Spirit Moves Us. By checking my review of the latter album, you can have a vague illustration of the bulk of what’s heard in this gathering of gigs.

My humble advice for the abundance on offer his time is “random pick, enjoy the choice”. There’s no sequence to be respected when dealing with issues transcending the delusional definition of what the foolish man will never grasp before getting a part of it – if they are fit to. It’s called “transfiguration of the vibrating matter”, including an attentive instinct on our existence’s intrinsic tempo; this, I’ve come to realize, is impossible to understand for people sheltered under the unchallenging conceptual escapes of timelessness. In other words: talk of events you don’t know, invent rules without the necessary rational foundation, accept the consequences of mental disruption. There also lies the differences between truly committed musicians and pretending wannabes.

One can easily get lost in the atmosphere, forgetting about the intellectual decoding of something that does not necessitate a verbal translation. The instrumentalists convey the notion of being free, without necessarily having the “free” label stuck on them. Their technicalities – the fruit of decades of intense exploration of the respective instruments – sound as natural as a drink of water. When the conversation extends for seemingly excessive lengths, it is instead the manifest evolution of an improvisational dialect that does not take into account “normal” parameters, typically connected with the constrained acceptance of some sort of aesthetical law needed to be booked for the “important” festivals.

In fact, the aforementioned logic revolves around innocent expressions devoid of any special effect, simply addressed to the act of existing in “that” moment and having the good fortune to collaborate with akin souls. It is for this reason that the audience becomes an integral component of the trio’s totality, never detached from the environment even when the level of attention inevitably drops. This is a physiological occurrence for individuals unaccustomed to focusing on sound through extended durations, but still ready to be rendered lamebrains by the low-budget commonplaces of selected arcane “truths”.

Hommage To Spirit welcomes just everybody in. It’s ebullient with melodic and rhythmic spurts, yet incredibly quiet within. Basically, what we call an enriching experience: at once pragmatic and supernatural, perfect to keep your feet firm on the ground while attempting the connection with the real superior entities.

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