Rest of the World
(2018 - New House Music - USA)
[Ltd Ed 300 copies]
Just one listen to the first cut 'Catawampus', and you have assurance that you will love the entire album of the 2nd release, by Dave Newhouse led Manna/Mirage. With the nostalgic tone, mix and complexities, mostly cloaked in Canterbury, the result is love in an instance. Also, that tune as well as 'Zed He Said' (track 2, which is dedicated to Robert Wyatt), and 'That Awful Sky' (track 8) were intended to be Muffins songs, but before they got recorded, that band broke up (sadly). It is worth noting that Michele King does a wonderful vocal piece on 'Zed He Said', along with Jerry King on acoustic guitars, lead and bass. The music here has a soothing, slightly psychedelic 60's folk sound, with a cool lushness, mellow in a most early Canterbury way. Carla Diratz performs narration and writes the lyrics on 'Alchemist in the Parlor' (track 3), with Greg Segal on bells, tiny cymbals, and klacker, plus Forest Fang on violin. Dave Newhouse adds doumbek, bass drum, along with his woodwinds and keyboards. This has an old carnival/gypsy vibe, which brings in a necessary mystery.
There are some further guest appearances of importance, with Sean Rickman (drums, who plays on 1/2/4/5 & 7), Mark Stanley (guitar on 1 & 4), Derek Higgins (bass on 5) Guy Segers (bass on 7), Bret Hart (guitars, ebow on 8), Billy Swan (double bass, and electric bass on 8), and William Jungwirth (drums on 8). Newhouse adds a multitude of instrumentation (see above for more) such as saxophones and accordion. The compositions cover a pleasurable amount of ground, including what could be described as semi exotic landscapes wandering into Soft Machine territory, tasteful flowery jazz, layered solo on soprano/alto/tenor and baritone sax (a beauty by Newhouse, which takes the listener away from jazz for a spell), and lastly a very spacious piece ('That Awful Sky') that sounds like a jazz improvisation planted in a post rock style. A hint of things to come?
The mixture of flavors is once again, superb on a project under Dave Newhouse's hands. The man/musician has not come close to running out of ideas, that is for certain. What that means for fans, is more music to come, and surely something to look forward to. Thanks to all the fine artists that come together on 'Rest of the World', in both creativity and execution, the audience is rewarded with the results.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 1 - 6 - 2019