Map Reference (Remastered) by Stephan Whitlan

Stephan Whitlan

Map Reference (Remastered)

6 tracks

Running time: 1:13:37
Released: 06/1996

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  01   The Second Hand Swept Away the Time that Could Never be Recovered - 20:15
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  02   The Darker it Gets (The Faster We Drive) - 5:08
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  03   Freak of Geometry - 10:04
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  04   The Last Place God Made - 10:42
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  05   Idleness in Monkeys - 10:10
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  06   Into the Greenwood - 17:18

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Remastered by John Dyson, 2009.

The opening track is the epic ‘The second hand swept away the time that could never be recovered’, and at a touch over 20 minutes long this album wastes no time in presenting its credentials. In the previous review I describe it is as “one of the most infectiously brilliant tracks you are ever likely to hear” which I still think sums things up perfectly. Usually when presented with such an expansive piece the sequences and rhythms are the feature aspects, and indeed here the sequencing is truly wonderful with a melodic approach which Glyn Lloyd Jones fans will I’m sure revel in. However, the overriding aspect of this track is the wonderful main theme which ebbs and flows constantly, building to a crescendo then descending to gather itself ready for another pass. For melody alone to carry a 20 minute piece takes rare ability and skill - but it’s here in buckets. The sequences embrace the main theme almost as one and the whole track really is a triumph of composition and scope which I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing. Four of the remaining pieces still weigh in at around 10 minutes so there’s lots more on offer even after the magical opener.

'The Darker It Gets...' contains some very Vangelis-like refrains, while 'Freak of Geometry' again displays Stephan's mastery of sequence and melody. 'The Last Place God Made' features some fine virtuoso piano played with real emotion, while 'Idleness in Monkeys' is not only a great title but also a fine piece of EM. 'Into the Greenwood' is another melodic delight with (in common with several of the tracks) unmistakable John Dyson references. Time has not taken the gloss of this release in any way, in fact it really does seem to improve with age.

The almost unbelievable brilliance of the opener, alone, warrants regular visitations to this album and the other goodies on show round the package off superbly. Quite simply a craftsman at work. (GG)