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, 1997
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).