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TRACK LIST: 1. The Circle of St. Giles 1:52 2. Mondrago 1:36 3. Heat of the Moment 4:15 4. Book of Saturday 2:34 5. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes 3:18 6. Hold Me Now 5:27 7. Emma 3:02 8. Battle Lines 5:31 9. Night Watch 3:12 10. You're Not the Only One 3:46 11. I Believe in You 2:28 All music: Wetton, except 6, 8, & 10: Wetton / Marlette, 4 & 9: Fripp / Wetton, & 3: Wetton / Downes. LINE-UP: John Wetton - vocals; acoustic guitars Martin Orford (IQ) - synthesizers With (?): John Mitchell (Arena) - electric guitar Produced by Wetton & C. Groom (Threshold). Recorded live in Poland in 2003.
Prolusion. John WETTON's new output, "Amata", is subtitled as "Live in Poland" and is a compilation of his solo works and those by King Crimson and Asia. Before, I've heard only solo studio albums by this famous English musician, and I have reviewed >some of them. To all appearances, "Amata" was released only in Poland. Fans of the artist should take this into consideration.
Synopsis. As usual, all the recording-related data (track listing, lineup, etc) I have copied from the CD booklet. After I listened to the material, I came to the conclusion that it's unlikely that John Mitchell participated in the show, as there is no electric guitar on the album. It would've been quite another matter if an acoustic guitar were also mentioned as part of Mitchell's equipment. Then I probably would've been certain that it was him who performed the most complicated passages and solos of acoustic guitar. But well, it does not matter, especially since the duo of John Wetton and Martin Orford did manage to perform familiar songs in the most positive way I could have expected. Furthermore, I am more than satisfied with the fact of the absence of Rock instruments on the recording, and the exclusive acoustically symphonic nature of "Amata" has just charmed me. The first two tracks: The Circle of St. Giles and Mondrago are instrumental pieces and both are excellent despite of their brevity. The former is a dramatic strings-based composition, a bit reminding me of Russian Classical music, and the latter is a classic acoustic guitar piece. The other tracks are songs, the instrumental textures of which are made up of passages of acoustic guitar and those of string ensemble. In other words, the songs, the original versions of which differ from each other by lots of various characteristics, are done within the framework of a united style, representing somewhat of an acoustically symphonic Art-Rock with elements of light Classical music. Really! Martin Orford introduced here the approach to arranging keyboard parts in the way he has employed on his first solo album >"Classical Music & Popular Songs". The sound is crystal clear and is very warm. Each song features purely instrumental interludes, some of which are rather long, and these are often notable for such masterful guitar solos that I didn't expect from John. My confidently positive reaction to "Amata" can perhaps be explained by the fact that many studio things sound better being performed live. Nevertheless, I will dare to express my doubt that the album would have sounded so good if John would've been joined by one of his other friends, and not Martin.
Conclusion. For this performance, John has gathered perhaps the most soulful songs from his general repertoire or, maybe, they just sound so here. In any case, "Amata" fits my tastes better than any other solo albums by John that I've heard.
VM: July 21, 2004
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