Reviewed by Alastair McCollum
For those new to Cross Rhythms, Jonathan Day is a Midlands-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who in the early '90s was, with his folk style compositions, very much part of the Christian scene releasing independent projects and having a critically acclaimed album 'A Different Land' distributed by Kingsway. But then Jonathan kind of disappeared from view, moving into full time music education and re-evaluating his whole theological position. This album, released in 2004, draws on a variety of music resources and showcases his multi-instrumental work and songwriting skills to make a singular work which bears repeated listening. That's not to say there aren't some tracks which are very immediate, but that most of these pieces need to be listened to again, chewed over and appreciated over time. The sleeve is notably lacking in details of the how, why, and who of the production, and there isn't a track listing - due to the desire for 'sense of mystery' according to the man himself - though a listing can be found online for those of us who like to be able to put a name to a song. Guitar-based, but not straightforwardly acoustic, the music ranges from the reflective feeling of "Skydog" to the powerful folk-rock/alternative vibe of the second track "A White Angelus" via a contemporary arrangement of the traditional folk piece "Lakes Of Pontchartain". There is some excellent guitar work throughout, an impressive variety of instruments which bring a depth of sound and deeply textured approach to the music, and the passionate vocals of Day give a sense of plaintive melancholy to the whole affair. There is a tangible sense of journey - or perhaps more accurately a sense of wandering and wondering - through the album, notably on what is probably the most catchy track "Darkman", but present in nearly every track. It's a feeling of searching and of spiritual quest, but with no particular answers found, just a sense of sharing in the questions. The almost "stream of consciousness" writings on the cover and inner sleeve of the CD reflect this feeling, with the whole package encouraging us to embrace the mystery of life, without necessarily expecting everything to be wrapped up. Repeated listening makes this a most profound and enjoyable album, not an easy listen, but a worthwhile one.
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