From the bottom of my heart. That's the title of Steve Jolliffe's newest studio album, translated to English. While the fiftyfive minutes roll by, one is never in doubt that renowned Steve Jolliffe has his heart firmly placed in the right place.
Since the exit from Tangerine Dream in 1978, various styles and genres have been turned upside down and explored to the fullest. That, which today has become a nondescript mass of unpredictable soundscapes and dreamy states.
There are no safe A, B, or C sections, as we know them, and there is no risk-free improvisation to a rhythmically, programmed sequencer. Listening to Steve Jolliffe's music, is like watching the cloud formations in the sky. It is impossible to see through its motion pattern. And the storm can break any minute.
This artistic expression finally came to its right in the beginning of the noughties, and it can be tough to take in this freely fabulating musical form as a newcomer.
Ab Imo Pectore does not deviate from this form, and once again Steve Jolliffe succeeds in delighting the initiated listener with the dreamy music.
Tangerine Dream connoisseurs will take extra notice. As something new on a Steve Jolliffe record, the ”aaaeeyyaaahh” preset is embraced. A sound that has defined Tangerine Dream in a long period. Other overlapping factory settings can be heard, too.
The Spanish sounding synth guitar we know from more recent Klaus Schulze also finds its place, but tweaked in a way, so it more sounds like something from Ry Cooder's Paris, Texas.
Similar to the Tangerine Dream clip from 1967 on the 2003 live album Poland, comes out of the mists of dreams a wellknown flashback, readers of this blog most certainly would recognize.
The putty that binds these three chosen examples together is Steve's fantastic and unpredictable musicality. Jazzy piano chords, howling theremins and distorted synth leads a la Jordan Rudess, are just a few ingredients in the mixture. The wind instruments, that are Steve's trademark, have been pushed in the background, and works on the same level as the manipulated sounds, in order to create the surreal, dreamy states. One can argue that the album is distinctly electronic. Throughout large parts we hear a lustful, bulging sequencer, that can not really be regarded as a rhythmic foundation.
The album fades out when the level of activity is on its highest. A sequel seems logical. However, it's very likely that we in the future get more music, straight from the heart.
On the whole it is a very colorful sound palette Steve paints with. There are plenty of moods to immerse oneself into. The style is completely his own, and rarely, if at all, copied. Ab Imo Pectore proofs that Steve Jolliffe is an immensely underrated artist, and up there with the best.
The album can be ordered by contacting Steve Jolliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org