Friday, November 09, 2007

Scott August new release: Lost Canyons

[Updated Nov 9]

Scott August has a new release called Lost Canyons. I have my been listening to my copy the last couple weeks and it's yet another great release from Scott. I have to give kudos to Scott for his well executed composition and recording. It still amazes me that he records this stuff in his closet (although Scott's "closet" is something to envy if you desire to own a project studio). Scott has built his recording career from the ground up and orchestrates and records the majority of the backing instrumentation himself. I am not sure that you'll find a harder working musician in the business.

In this release, Lost Canyons, Scott introduces the Anasazi flute to his recording repertoire. The Anasazi flute is an rim blown or end blown flute, and it's not simple to play at all. Scott has been practicing and learning to play this flute the last couple years, before he attempted to record with it. Scott has posted several articles on his webpage about the Anasazi flute, there's good information on his flute history page and also on a blog entry he created. The Anasazi flute is making something of a come back now, and Coyote Oldman is one of the few flute makers who is producing this style flute now. You can check out Coyote Oldman's website if you're interested in buying one.

The first song on the album, Morning Star, is pure Anasazi flute. It's a wonderful melody that transports you to another place and time. It's a great opening track for the album.

The second song, Raven Dance, is one of my favorites on the album. It's a rich texture of flute, Udu, Kalimba, percussion, keyboards and guitar. If you close your eyes on this song, you can picture the Ravens dancing across the sky. I would say that this song is pure Scott August, it's everything he's evolved his music to be: lush, rhythmic and well balanced.

Desert Skies is the third song and this song is a richly textured soundscape. This song has an ambient feel to it without any flutes, but it moves you nicely.

On the song, Where Spirits Dwell, Scott again employs the Anasazi flute on top of a moving soundscape rich with percussion. Scott again demonstrates his mastery of this instrument.

Swallows and Nighthawks is pure Native American style flute, nothing else. It's nice break on this album from all of the other textures. The flute is bright and stands alone nicely.

The next song, Thunder on the Mesa, has a unique opening percussion on the Udu. On the first couple plays, I found it an odd beat to open the song with. But now, this song is also one of my favorites on the album. I also have to admit that I've heard this song develop over the last year during Scott's live performances. This song is unmistakably Scott August with his trademark kalimba and rhythm breaks.

Scott takes us in several new directions with this album. Textures is a song that dares to run it's ambient course but is masterfully overlaid with the Anasazi flute. The flute on this song dances around the textures as it swirls from speaker to speaker. Huukyanga is another track on the album which was inspired by similar ambient underpinnings and the Anasazi flute over top. On Huukyanga, Scott plays the Anasazi flute with a speed and technical ability that I've never heard before.

The namesake track for the album, Lost Canyons is the longest piece on the album at over 8 minutes. But it keeps you engrossed for the whole time. It also is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

On Chasing the Sun, a fast paced and highly articulated song, I have the feeling of racing down a desert highway with the scenery racing past my window. Scott plays a triple flute on this song while the instrumentation in the background carries you along. This is fun piece to listen to.

To close the album, Scott slows things down with Twilight Canyon and Evening Star. The bass flute on Twilight Star and crickets in the background remind me of evening at the campfire. Reflecting on the days adventure...

Evening Star is the last piece on the album and for it, Scott returns to the Anasazi flute one last time. It's sweet little melody that demonstrates the range of tones which the Anasazi flute is capable of.

Lost Canyons is yet another masterful release by Scott August. Having known Scott now for many years, I know the dedication and time that he spends on his composition and recording. Once again Lost Canyons won't disappoint and I especially recommend it if you want to explore the possibilities with the Anasazi flute. I am sure that this isn't the last time we'll hear the Anasazi flute on Scott's albums.

The only downside that I can find in this new album is the dang small font that Scott used to describe the instruments on each track! I guess it's time for me to buy some reading glasses for these 40 something eyes.

If you want to listen to excerpts from the tracks from the new album, click below:

If you are interested in purchasing this album here's the link to Scott website:

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