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OCTARINE SKY_Close To Nearby_COVER.jpg
Close To Nearby
(2021 - Uberwald Records -USA)

From the first seconds, any fan of Potter's Daughter (Dyanne Potter Voegtlin and Jan Christiana) will understand this is far from the previous sound. Add more top musicians and the result is prime. In fact, it is amazing in the framework of a classical jazz fusion workout with much more. There is magic in the air here folks. The tracks follow one another as if they were born in the same womb, twin-like, only in formation (the compositions are not all by one person) , yet having sharp twists and emphasis on both chorus and bridge, also having that nice gush of power in the passages lifted by Holdsworthian inspired leads. Dyanne's piano work (often like teardrops) takes each piece into the next space, and her beautiful mesh of Sally Oldfield/Annie Haslam/Lainey Schooltree vocals ride over he entire ocean of discovery.  On  track  '5 ' (actually called '5') is a display for Voegtlin's multi vocal skills that kick things into yet another gear.

 'Close To Nearby' took around nine months to make and includes some huge power such as Mr. Simon Phillips on drums, Guthrie Gowan (of The Aristocrats) making lead guitar statements on tracks 3,5,6 & 7/ and Amit Chatterjee on guitar (track 8). All these with the foundation of Dyanne Potter Voegtlin – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards/ Jan Christiana – Bass, Bass Synths, Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals/ and Christian Voegtlin – Narration (track 4).  You might guess the music has superior energy and far more capacity than anything that has come before on a Potter's Daughter release. Of course this is due to both more song writers on the album and obviously the collection of artists that make the music happen. 'Close To Nearby' is a particularly great release, climbing up the ladder higher than the ink blue sky, past the fluffy white clouds, and somewhere into the winking stars. There are many moments of hot fusion (some similar to Simon Phillips own Protocol band), tasty movements, and all most accomplished. The sound swings from the glorious symphonic powerhouse of The Enid at it's best, sometimes reminding of perfectly placed RIO chamber rock complex greatness, with no struggle in moving back to the gentle breeze of ballad based ensemble. Hardly a stone upturned, giving the listener a more than full cup (overflowing in fact).

By the time we are back on planet earth, the song "Hold" (track #8 - the last composition) is so beautifully laid at your feet, it simply gives one the sense of being beamed down to a velvet throne.  Easily better than any of the more categorized or caution based groups I have heard in 2021. Production is superb, engineering is perfect, and all arrangements are crisp and elegant. A fine example of a ballad morphed into a burning fusion treat is "Night Sky/Into the Dream" where Phillips burns it up on drum kit. Both smooth and vicious.

There will be upcoming limited edition vinyls and accompanying Art Book which features art by Armand Cabrera (who created the album cover) coming soon. It is said to be set up at Bandcamp in the near future. And as a bonus, there are two special artists who may be including a couple of their own prints to the book. A massive amount of talent was brought in to an already highly skilled set of musicians on this project. A giant bow to all the composers, plus all involved on this masterpiece. Multiple listens are in order, but I am certain this will be automatic for all. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and added to my TOP CHOICES of 2021 list.

   ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 28 - 2022

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