October is Marigold by David Cross and Andrew KeelingRelease date: November 26, 2021
Label: Noisy Records
It’s quite a combination when you put Crimson alumni David Cross and Andrew Keeling together in one room. You have incredible magic between the two musicians. And their third collaboration together since their first two releases; 2009’s English Sun and 2015’s Starless Sunlight. Last year, they released their second follow-up release on the Noisy Records imprint ‘Electric Chamber Music’ called, October is Marigold.
The themes on the new album has this dark, cavernous, and ambient surrounding then the previous two. One being vibrant, the second tipping his hat during the John Wetton-era of King Crimson, and the Marigold release goes into an autumn vibe for the fall to approach.
You feel the leaves coming down the trees as the first sign of a breezy weather starts to dwell in between Cross and Keeling, after an exhausting hot weather from May to September. Using violins, guitar, flute, and keyboards, the duo bring these powerful vibes to represent the themes of the Marigold flower in October.
It has power, strength, and the loss of a loved one, or a broken relationship gone horribly wrong. And what David and Andy have done is to let listeners come through the open door to see if the flower will work to bring the pieces together to fix the romance they once had, or get a divorce.
From the first three-part suites of ‘Marigold’, you get this feeling that their relationship isn’t going to work as the minor piano chords and violin strings set up the demise and fall behind closed doors. There’s a strong sense of Tomaso Albinoni’s arrangements in the composition.
There are moments where David plays like a calmer version during the recording sessions for the Red album. You can imagine that Robert himself is very pleased for David, knowing that he’s come a long way. You feel the rain dropping really hard on the roof of your own house after a long argument you might have with your girlfriend / wife.
But just as Keeling sets up the next chapter in the book for what is about to happen, it comes to a sadden end on the third section of the suite. There’s an understanding on why they decided to part ways and move on to greener pastures.
The music gives a sense of a mournful October sky filling up those grey clouds coming in for many months to come. Keeling at times plays his guitar in a flamenco tone, channeling Ottmar Liebert. You can hear that on the intensive composition, ‘Strong as a Mountain Lion’.
He plays so menacingly, David follows it up by making his violin cry out in the middle of a heavy snow storm approaching the Rocky Mountains whilst the Terry Riley-sque format and Wyatting format are very appropriate in the arrangements the duo created.
But it’s a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun by travelling ‘Even Nearer’. Keeling’s flute and Cross’ violin set up the helicopter view of these beautiful landscapes going to Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and Yokohama with amazing scenery that’ll have your jaws dropped before Cross makes his instrument sound like a blaring saxophone, playing these mad improvisations.
Listening to the last two minutes of ‘Kingfisher’, you can just vision the animated 1988 short Rarg, directed by Tony Collingwood. Cross creates this alternate score for this strange and beautiful city, not knowing that the town is more than what the people of Rarg have expected it to be.
The closer ‘The Dark Edge of Desire and Marigold 4’ brings everything to an ominous end. It becomes hell on earth as everything in this great city has laid waste. Both Cross and Keeling put the final rose on the street as they lead into this Rypdal-like atmosphere to bring every picture of the story in full circle.
October is Marigold, what an amazing title. Cross and Keeling brought the statues of ambient, terror, drama, and this pressure cooker waiting for the explosion to happen right in front of you.
It is the album that will send chills down your spine and keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end when the last petal falls on this once great dystopian city that can never be fixed.