Gail Laughton aided only by wind-chimes and finger-cymbals plies
the twists and turns of time all the way back to Lemuria and distant
Atlantis. His is inevitably an exercise in imagination. As it
says on the disc: A 23,000 Year Trip Back Through Man's Magnificent
Past: His Temples, Deities and Rituals - Expressed
Through the Sounds of his Favorite and Eternal Instrument.
What of the music?
It is plangent and rhythmic (Hebrews), suitably oriental, alive
with small bell noises and enigmatic (Japan), lapping with water
(Pompeii), slow with a Ravel-like grace (Greece), shivering with
tremolo (Mayans), shuddering with distant threat and distant ecstasy
(Crete), darkly iterative (Babylon), surprisingly starry and serene
(Stonehenge), a complex mingling kaleidoscope of de profundis
figuration (Egypt), redolent of remote courts and courtly
dances (Lemuria) and plangent and pearlescent with a shiver of
cold illimitable ocean depths (Atlantis).
Perhaps you know the
Bernard Herrmann film score for Beyond the Twelve Mile Reef.
If you do then this music often touches base Herrmann’s cue for
the fight with the octopus.
This disc can be compared
with the harp and ensemble music on Music in the Age of the
Pyramids - Ancient Egypt – with music variously composed,
arranged and conducted by Rafael Pérez Arroyo on Natural Acoustic
recordings NAR001 (see review).
That disc concentrates its speculative recreations on the Egypt
of the pharaohs. It is therefore narrower in its fanciful mission.
Oddly enough the longest piece on the Laughton disc is Egypt
The playing time is
short overall – not even half an hour - but this reflects the
collection’s LP origin. In fact the disc was prepared from an
original vinyl LP.
For those who delight
in allusive speculative time travel or who must have every speck
of music from the Ridley Scott film Blade-Runner (1982)
which gave the disc brief celebrity.