Where The Ceaseless City's Crowd Moves On

LASZLO SPIRO guitar, guitarsynth, electronics & composition various supporting musicians Swiss guitarist Laszlo Spiro creates a thick, swirling fusion here. Yes, fusion. Once a dirty word in Jazz circles, fusion has recently re-emerged with a younger generation at the helm. Spiro's guitar lines are reminiscent of such fusion giants as McLaughlin, Holdsworth, Metheny, and Gambale. Yet he most resembles Canada's Michel Cusson (late of UZEB). It's not just the guitar lines, but the synth textures and orchestrations the hark back to the heyday of UZEB. The opening "Prelude" features ringing guitar notes under a beautiful trumpet played by Michael Gassmann. This segues into the driving "Another Possibility." Unison guitar and sax weave their way around the rhythm section. The sound is pure late 1980s, but Spiro gives it a fresh gloss."Random Access" opens with long toned guitar lines over sequenced synth. Cymbals chatter and then the band comes in. This could easily be an Allan Holdsworth track. "Delta variance" features fretless bass and thick synth pads. The drums dance underneath the atmosphere, letting it float on top. Spiro's synth guitar plays flute lines and trumpeter Gassmann blows dark notes. Can you say Miles? Despite the fact that this whole recording is derivative and reads like a textbook for fusion music, there is a fresh energy here. The recording and musicianship is top notch. Recommended for fusion fans.
Michael Bettine ( New York )


The following text displays certain aspects of my theoretical groundwork on the project "Where the Ceaseless City`s Crowd Moves On".

After the removal of functional harmony through Schönberg`s twelve-tone technique as well as serial music, it is in my opinion above all Olivier Messiaen who introduced new directions in the field of "Reintegration" of functional harmony. Reintegration is not for me the quotation or satirization of harmonic structures that have been heard before in the sense of postmodern classical music or jazz. It is much more the search for a harmony that places the rejected major/minor tonality in a different light with a broader view.

As the 20th Century approaches its completion we notice that all intervals in our tempered system of tuning can be felt to be consonant. This phenomenon finds an example in Arvo Pärt`s music, which leaves an extremely harmonious and consonant impression on us in spite of holding long notes in "dissonant" combinations of intervals. It is astonishing that it is above all the sections with clear major triads that seem to be dissonant.

In the harmony of the future, we will find the notes producing tension more in the areas of micro- tonality and untempered tunings. In this respect we must mention the Bulgarian choir "Le mystère des voix bulgaires", which has enjoyed huge acclaim in recent years. This Bulgarian art of singing has its roots in Byzantine culture and has luckily remained untouched by the influence of western harmony. Reaching from archaic diaphony right up to the most daring forms of polyphony, this music is a further example of how functional harmony, allied with quarter-note and eight-note elements, can prouduce an effect of consonant harmony.

The music of the project "Where the Ceaseless City`s Crowd Moves On" can be understood in a neotonal context. I chose at the outset a palette of tone colours containing structures based on four -note chords. Under these I can introduce a vast range of timbres, either with or without functional harmony.

My current music can be understood in its broadest sense as contemporary jazz, particularly since I lend both improvisation and composition an equal status. The influences of the classical composer Olivier Messiaen can also be found, as well as those of southern Eastern European rhythms. After an intensive preoccupation with Messiaen`s commendable works on theory, I turned to Eastern European folklore. Also here we can find parallels to Messiaen, who pursued so-called "irregular" metres, even if he never let the rhythms sound static. In other words, he often interrupted the flow, which did not always work to the advantage of his wonderful music. All the more interesting then his use of seven modes with limited possibilities to transpose, which in my opinion revolutionized the entire harmonic component of music in Bach-like proportions.

Southern Eastern European folklore has for me, next to its complex rhythms which are always performed with unbelievable ease, a melancholy and intensity of expression which maybe American blues and jazz had in the beginning. I believe that here, in this folk music, lies a rhythmic potential for the whole of Europe, which could offer an alternative to American-dominated rhythm. (transl. Peter Waters)