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  • Jonathan Widran

ERIK SCOTT, A Trick of the Wind

Celebrating a prolific decade as one of new age music’s most acclaimed and innovative artists and performers, Erik Scott follows his chart-topping, two time Zone Music Reporter (ZMR) Award winning 2016 album In the Company of Clouds with a fresh, soulfully exotic new collection whose provocative title, A Trick of the Wind, reflects another aspect of the powerful natural forces around us.

In 2017, the veteran bassist, composer and producer won ZMR Awards for Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. In The Company of Clouds also reached #1 on the ZMR Global Airplay Chart twice and hit the pole position on the daily new age ECHOES Radio program.

With its trippy ambiences, inviting hypnosis, consciousness transporting electric sitar, intensifying percussion and soaring tribal vocal chanting textures, the lead single "Wings" is the perfect entry point to the multi-faceted musical journey of A Trick of the Wind.

Written and produced by Scott, the expansive nine-track set features the multi-talented musician complementing his rhythmic foundation of fretless and fretted basses with eBow bass, electric piano, organ, synthesizer, sitar, percussion programs, bass generated effects and vocals. Guest artists include John Pirruccello, Celso Alberti (drum loops, acoustic drums & percussion), John Luttrell (electric guitar), Andy Mitran (percussion), Jeff Pearce (guitar synth) and, from the #1 new age ensemble FLOW, Jeff Oster (trumpet, flugelhorn).

“Wings” and the moody and sensual, gospel, country and global music influenced “Solooka” feature the lush vocal harmonies of Larry Batiste, Bryan Dyer and Sandy Griffith. Griffith also adds a distinctly human texture via her beautiful wordless vocals to two other songs - the haunting, ethereal “Ghosts of Storyville,” whose emotional core finds Scott’s deep bass melody vibing powerfully with Oster’s lush horn lines; and the atmospheric, steel guitar/bass driven ballad “The Invisible Wand.” Other key tracks are the spacey, electronica influenced (and perfectly titled) “The Wind Sings a Strange Song”; a sacred invitation to rise on “A Wing and a Prayer” via Scott’s dramatic church organ and elegant piano melody; and “Born Dreaming,” another slow simmering, sitar caressed meditation. The centerpiece of the album is its ambient, consciousness expanding title track, which creates a symphony of exotic and otherworldly effects around his core bass melody and percussion groove.

Scott’s “musical voyages,” as he calls them, are grounded in fretless bass melodies wrapped in steel guitar, synthesizer ghostings and off world bass generated sound effects. “But I always add something fresh,” he says, “so I learned to play an electric sitar and pipe organ synth for this one. I also wanted to incorporate more exotic subtle rhythms, lower flame moody grooves, using percussion sounds that are available through creative electronics. Another important element is my love for painting with gospel type vocal harmonies, using them as another instrument, and then playing counter melodies to these vocal melodies, very often in the upper registers of my basses, fretted and fretless, in a call and response pattern.”

New age and ambient fans have been on board with the independent artist’s ever evolving sonic landscapes since Other Planets. In choosing it as CD of the month in February 2009, John Dilberto of Echoes declared, “To say that his solo debut, Other Planets, is a bass guitar album is to miss what a powerful, cinematic release he’s created. It’s an album that’s more Pink Floyd than Jaco Pastorius.” Scott’s solo discography also includes 2014’s And The Earth Bleeds, a fusion of world music, jazz and other influences; and Spirits, a remix album featuring tracks from his first two albums, also released in 2014.

Earlier in his career, Scott played bass for the comedic musical duo Flo & Eddie (featuring members of The Turtles) and Alice Cooper, for whom he also produced. In the 1990s, he was one of the founding members of Sonia Dada, a Chicago based rock/soul/R&B band which reached #1 on the Australian music charts with their self-titled debut album. Scott was also the co-writer of “Father, Father,” the title track for the album by gospel/R&B legend Pop Staples’ album that won a Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Other artists Scott has worked with include Mavis Staples, Carl Palmer, and Kim Carnes.

“At this point in my life, I make music for the same reason I did 50 years ago,” Scott says. “I make it because I have something to say, and I don’t have the words. I believe the music certainly mirrors the moods of its maker at any given point in time.”

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