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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Giant Steppes'
Artist - Dennis Rea

For those not in the know, MoonJune stalwart Dennis Rea (Moraine, Iron Kim Style, Zhongyu) continues his series of “musical travelogues” with Giant Steppes, a boldly unconventional exploration of Central Asian music that follows on from his acclaimed 2010 MoonJune release Views From Chicheng Precipice.

The album also comes with Rea's companion book Tuva and Busted, available as a free download from Blue Ear Books at:

Recorded over several years in Seattle and Siberia, Giant Steppes is the ever-unpredictable guitarist/composer/arranger's most ambitious album so far, interpolating Silk Road desert airs, Russian choral songs, Tuvan throat singing, and mutant Tibetan pop with a gleeful yet respectful disregard for genre purity.

1. 'Live At Gaochang (Uyghur Suite)' (16:41)
2. 'Altai By And By' (8:44)
3. 'Wind Of The World's Nest' (9:56)
4. 'The Fellowship Of Tsering' (14:07)

Opening on the mesmerizingly, near 17-minute, magnificent opus 'Live At Gaochang (Uyghur Suite)' all you need to know about this talented collective is summed up perfectly within all that musically comes forth.

A cavalcade of sounds, vibrations, and musical dreamscapes that randomly interchange at will, Rea (electric, resonator, and ‘Mellotron’ guitars) is on top form here and once that has subsided, they slip seamlessly into the Russian traditional song (arranged by Juliana Svetlitchnaia and Dennis Rea) 'Altai By And By.'

Featuring Rea on electric guitar and both Juliana and PAVA on vocals and hurdy-gurdy respectively, the track is hauntingly breathtaking and is a massive stand out cut for this album to tentpole itself on.

Next up is the throaty spoken-word/sung, melodic Tuvan traditional song 'Wind Of The World's Nest,' which has Rea on electric guitar and ‘throat guitar,’ along with Albert Kuvezin's deeply tonal vocals bringing forth the lyrics of Galsan Tschinag.

The album then rounds out with the 15-miute epic 'The Fellowship Of Tsering' from Jampa Tsering and arranged by Rea. My oh my, what a journey this song is, as it takes us from lands near and far, across waters and uncharted ground, through fires and droughts, whilst at all times signaling a harkened, beating outcry, all whilst Rea showcases his talent on the electric and organ guitars along with the kalimba.

As I'm sure you are now all more than well aware, Giant Steppes is all over the map both geographically and sonically, mingling jazz, heavy prog, krautrock, surf, electroacoustic soundscapes, and field recordings, but that's exactly what makes it just so damn good!

Showcasing such formidable musicians as Tuvan singer Albert Kuvezin (Yat Kha), celebrated Russian choral ensemble Juliana & PAVA, badass bassist Wadim Dicke, trumpet mage Greg Kelley, Rea's 1970s Earthstar bandmate Daniel Zongrone, and Seattle treasures Steve Fisk, Doug Haire, Stuart Dempster, Dick Valentine, Don Berman, Greg Campbell, Brian Oppel, and Greg Powers, the 4-track, 50 minute plus album is one of the Top 5 of my year so far, and I'm sure it will be for you also.

Official Purchase Link

Dennis Rea @ Bandcamp