Canterbury Black by Jim Kirkwood

Jim Kirkwood

Canterbury Black

3 tracks

Running time: 1:11:45
Released: 11/2007

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  01   A Cathedral of Crows - 12:00
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  02   An Evening on Black Knoll - 30:46
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  03   Down the Crow Road PT2 - 28:59
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Occasionally I have a good idea.I thought to myself, what would happen if I was to write a story that was a combination of fantasy, conspiracy theory and esoteric religious belief, bordering on shamanism? I told a friend about it. "Er, have you checked out any of the more wierd websites, Jim. I think you'll find that you are in good company with a load of nutters." And with that he departed and I have'nt seen him since. Friends eh! I still thought it was a good idea so I came up with a story complete with characters, some of them fictional. And there it would have ended, except I had another idea. Why not write some music inspired by the story? The result was an album called "Foxhalt Edge". Canterbury black, named after one of the shape shifting characters,is a continuation of that theme. The rest, as they say, is history, of sorts.
A Cathedral of Crows. You might be forgiven for thinking that the title of this track was a dig at religious clergy who are want to wear black. Would I do such a thing? OK, it's a fair cop. But actually, it's about a Gothic cathedral without doors. The only way in is through an open window too high for anything other than a bird to enter. The crows arrive, transfigure into humans, and after holding their mysterious rites, depart again as crows. Do such beings exist? Fantasy, religious belief or conspiracy theory? Over to you.
An Evening on Black Knoll. Supposing someone said to you that they knew of a strange grassy knoll in the middle of stretch of woodland miles from anywhere. Furthermore, it had a sinister reputation for odd things happening around it, especially at night? What would you do? Spend the night there of course, keeping a record of everything that occured and...What do you mean, no?
Down the Crow Road Part2. Part one of this track originally appeared on a CD titled, "Embracing the Dark". Quite simply, Down the Crow Road is a euphamism among the Scots and those of a shamanistic bent, for the road we take when we die. Cheerfull subject ain't it. Well, I liked it.

The following is a review by SMD

By Jim's standards he has been away for quite some time, so it was with a sense of excitement that I pressed Play for the first track 'A Cathedral of Crows'. My eager anticipation is rewarded big style as what an awesome return we have here. 'Canterbury Black' turns out to be one of his very best albums ever. Right from the thunderous charging vast organ surge opening, played with manic glee backed by ethereal angelic wordless colouring then huge rhythmic flourishes, it is obvious that Jim has used the time (mainly spent concentration on his artwork) to recharge his batteries, resulting in music that at times reaches levels of power and oomph laden angst not attained even by him before (and that is saying something!). A euphoric blistering lead line almost screams to the heavens as the rhythms become even more insistent. This is surely one of the most exciting openings to an album Jim has ever penned. It is impossible to overstate just how good it is. The next stage gets underway as a belting sequence spews forth, underpinned by a second bass one that should get the whole house shaking. There is no let up in the wonderful mayhem as the energetic saga continues. The sequences might subside slightly but then the organ surges forward once more as if the long dead rise from their uneasy sleep

. 'An Evening on Black Knowle' initially calms things down with almost birdlike twitterings and soft misty pads gently drifting through the air. A rapid melodic sequence picks up the pace. Thundering bass stabs and another laser sharp lead heightening the excitement. A lone monk adds a little wordless vocal colouring as the rhythms and leads morph into a more reflective but equally as captivating pattern. By the tenth minute the storm has passed and we are left in an uneasy calm. A slow moody rhythm strikes up soon to be backed by lovely little melodic touches. This beautiful passage eventually descends to more moody drifting pads. A sense of anticipation is formed as yet another fantastic sequence explodes to the surface; this time backed my moody mellotron then subtle rhythms. The pace and power seems to increase by the second as gradually things are once again whipped up to frenzied proportions. 'The Crow Road Part 2' begins with chilling winds and demonic utterances- spooky stuff! Gregorian chants can be heard low in the mix as fizzing stabs of sonic power fly over the top like meteorites burning up in the sky above. When the sequence arrives it is a swirling one, quite subdued and moody, setting the scene for what is to come. The second sequence arrives, pulsations morphing this way and that, sometimes subsiding for excellent little interludes only to resurface again to continue the noble quest. We get a passage of extremely moody and ominous atmospherics out of which emerges a fresh slow percussive sequence. More sequences fall into formation but this is fairly subtle stuff with a touch of melancholy. Jim tells me that this is just the first album in a series of four. I can't wait for the next instalment! (DL)