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In the Company of Clouds

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Customer Reviews

From MainlyPiano

In his long and illustrious career as a musician/composer/songwriter, I would venture to say that bassist Erik Scott has probably at least touched on just about every music genre there is, synthesizing them all into his unique and original style. How many albums can you name (besides Erik’s previous releases) that are centered around the electric bass - the pulse and heartbeat of so much music but rarely the lead? Scott performs on several bass guitars as well as keyboards, drum and percussion programs, some “wee vocals” and mandolin. Joined by fellow artists such as Jeff Pearce (guitar), John Pirruccello (steel guitar) and Chris Cameron (piano), Scott has created nine beautiful pieces inspired by some of the tales of King Arthur and the Isle of Avalon. In the liner notes of the album, Scott is quoted as saying: “As music mirrors the moods of its makers, it can lift and soothe the moods and minds of the listeners… and so I hope these offerings will lift some hearts, warm some souls, and smooth some edges.” I think it’s worth mentioning that Erik Scott recently triumphed over cancer and mentions that “It’s a huge wave of relief, a soul-opening pulse, when you’re given more time… time to try and make some things, good things. Granted leave to maybe make some music, granted some .. ‘breathing room.’” I, for one, am so glad!

"In the Company of Clouds" begins with “Nine Lives,” a gospel-tinged song-without-words that features the vocal talents of Larry Batiste, Sandy Griffith, and Bryan Dyer. Pirruccello’s steel guitar gives this song (and most of the album) a twist that makes it impossible to classify - always a good thing, I think! “Seven Veils” is mysterious and hypnotic. The slow, sensual tempo tantalizes the imagination as it casts its magical spell. “Breathing Room” features Jeff Pearce on guitar, a mega-talent in his own right. Steel guitar, bass, and light percussion as well as some keyboard effects (and some breathing sounds) blend to create a bit of ambient sorcery. The word “victory” usually brings thoughts of leaping or shouting for joy, dancing wildly, and an infinite variety of “big” images, but Scott’s piece by that name is a more personal, more internal sort of triumph - one that might reflect feelings of relief and gratitude. “Open Door” features Chris Cameron on piano as well as synth orchestration, steel guitar, and bass. Again, more ambient than melodic, darkly colorful images emerge from the slowly-swirling tempo - mysterious yet peaceful. “Waves” has a more tropical, Hawaiian flavor with gentle rhythms and warm, languid guitars that beautifully express the mesmerizing effect of watching the waves of the ocean. “The Long View” includes Rick Barnes on acoustic guitar as well as steel guitar, bass and wordless vocals - a peaceful ending to an excellent album!

Erik Scott has created another work of art with "In the Company of Clouds," and I predict you’re going to be hearing a lot about this album in the coming months. Yes, Eski, I think God and Paul McCartney would both be very pleased! Very highly recommended!

Review excerpt from Music and Media Focus

On his stellar new release, “In the Company of Clouds,” bassist/composer Erik Scott follows in the lofty footsteps of his critically acclaimed and chart-topping album “Spirits.” With its blend of Erik’s signature melodic fretless bass along with steel guitar, synthesizers, guitar, percussion, and a bit of choir-like gospel vocals, the music creates an ambiance that is both earthy and ethereal. The alchemy of these elements is quite unique and takes the listener to uncharted sonic terrain. It’s not easy to forge a unique sound in today’s crowded music world, but Erik manages to produce distinctive music that absolutely sounds like no one else.

According to Erik: “I intended that a warm groove should permeate this record, and part of the instrumentation I used to convey this vibe is human voices, used as instruments, rather than to present any lyrics. I have always responded to the waves of simple chords from a gospel choir.” The opening track, “Nine Lives,” is one of two songs on the album that incorporate these sounds. While there are no lyrics on the album, I couldn’t help but notice the surprisingly vocal quality of Erik’s fretless bass playing on this song that almost seemed to be singing words. In a context of ethereal synthesizers, percussion, and the always-tasteful steel guitar playing of John Pirruccello, who plays on every track, the effect is extremely uplifting and makes for a perfect introduction to the album.

The other song that features gospel-like vocals is track 3, “Women Of Avalon.” There is a wonderful cinematic quality to this piece that draws deep inspiration from mythology. This track is truly epic and embodies the mist and magic of this ancient saga. A song I was looking forward to hearing is “Breathing Room,” as it features a guest appearance by my favorite ambient guitarist, Jeff Pearce. Here he delivers his signature dreamy sound over a background of celestial synthesizers, steel guitar, percussion, and of course, Erik’s mellifluous and melodic fretless bass – a stunning combination.

In listening to this album, every once in a while I would hear a melody or a phrase that reminded me slightly of something, perhaps in the distant past. One of those moments was on a track called “First Cup,” that brought to mind the psychedelic rock classic “It’s All Too Much” by the Beatles. Not to say that it sounds just like it at all, but perhaps there was something in the way it moved me (wink). The album draws to a serene conclusion with a dreamy piece called, “The Long View,” which quite appropriately, leaves the listener with their head in the clouds.

While in addition to bass, Erik who also contributes keyboards, drum and percussion programming, a bit of vocals, and mandolin, has brought in a superb supporting cast of accompanists to animate his creations. As well as being a highly accomplished instrumentalist, Erik Scott has a fertile imagination and the musical vision to create compositions and arrangements of unlikely elements in ways that can’t help but make you sit up and take notice of their originality. If I had to sum up my reaction to this album in one word, it would be “wow!” As a music journalist, I listen to hundreds of albums a year, and I love when a recording crosses my path that is so distinctive that hearing it for the first time feels like stepping foot on an undiscovered land.

To read a full-length feature article on this album, as well as others, please visit: MichaelDiamondMusic.com

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

Erik Scott debuted with his first album in 1969, later working with a number of pop and rock artists, including having toured and recorded with Alice Cooper in the 1980’s. He has since co-written for and collaborated with a number of other recording artists, as well as embarked on an instrumental solo career. On his latest album, In the Company of Clouds, the intriguing and hypnotic lure of melodic fretless bass is Erik’s key instrument, accompanied throughout by keyboards, percussion and mandolin, as well as other innovative sound effects. Comprised of nine tracks total, In the Company of Clouds additionally features an amazing lineup of guest musicians and vocalists, including John Pirruccello who lends steel guitar to all of the compositions.

“Nine Lives” immediately lifts the spirits with its beautiful sound collage of melodic bass, tribal percussion and soulful wordless vocals. They collectively lend the piece a notable African flavor, effectively bringing to mind that of sailing down the Congo River on a breezy sunny day. The equally mesmerizing “Seven Veils” continues in this mode, as it’s similarly guided along by exotic percussion, dreamy synthesizers and sitar scattered throughout. Soulful wordless vocals intoning soothing “ooohs” return for “Women of Avalon”, another lovely piece that features Steve Hunter on guitar, as John Mader lends congas and cymbals. Warm and enveloping throughout, this piece seems to convey a celebration of the distant past. Another notable highlight, “Breathing Room”, features Jeff Pearce on ambient electric guitar. Here, Erik perfectly injects plenty of ‘breathing space’ between the notes, as Jeff’s guitars ethereally float across a seemingly liquid and nocturnal soundscape. “Victory”, featuring Kevin Haynes on drums, is perhaps the brightest piece on the album and characterized by a comforting, peaceful elation. It’s followed by “Open Door”, which likewise welcomes all of the now familiar instrumental elements – sans the percussion – along with a touch of piano courtesy of Chris Cameron. Closing out the album is the notably warm and leisurely “The Long View”, which additionally features Rick Barnes on acoustic guitar.

Seemingly taking its listener on a magical sailing journey, notes and chords often bend and sway in suspension throughout these melodically structured yet often liquid-like compositions. Exuding an overall mood and atmosphere that reminds me at times of works by Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd and James Hood’s Moodswings project, In the Company of Clouds is an enthusiastically recommended album of impeccably beautiful ambient instrumental fusion!

In the Company of Clouds, Erik Scott
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