Rainbow Thunder by Michael Robinson (Azure Miles Records)
Built primarily around Eastern instrumentation and percussion, the four works on Rainbow Thunder are very much "big picture" works. Those looking for traditional song structure or three-minute verse/chorus/verse sonic narrative should look elsewhere.
The title track matches intricate polynational percussion with a trumpet that alternates between dirge-like maundering and, in the final minutes, African harp-backed agitation.
"Forest Regions" is a slow, lingering work full of bell-like tones; it's extremely evocative, and paints a vivid sound-picture of the distant, alien stillness of the titular location.
"Gopura" is a quiet, brooding piece in which an altered piano asserts itself over sustained tabla and tanpura textures.
"The Angel Of Ankara", my favorite, is a 25-minute epic of Indian instrumentalism in which oud, tabla and others create a slow, elegant, powerful sonic texture in which they play little, melodic cat-and mouse games.
I thoroughly recommend Rainbow Thunder to anyone who wants to broaden a horizon or two.
- George Zahora, Splendid e-zine (1997)