Sunday, 15 July 2018

Steve Howe’s Remedy “Elements” 2003 UK Crossover Prog


Steve Howe’s Remedy “Elements” 2003 UK Crossover Prog
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Elements sounds to be the best afford of Steve Howe since Turbulance. After the very personnal behave respectfully to Bob Dylan, Portraits of Bob Dylan, and acoustic and new age sounding Natural Timbre and Skyline albums, this one is a comeback to rockier side of Steve Howe. Since you will hear brass section on this album too, it is crossing progressive rock and jazz, too. Time to time, you will feel as if you are listening to the peak period of Yes music. Listen to this album…by….Cengiz VARLIK…~


.He’s a MUSICIAN. There’s a huge difference. Calling Steve Howe a guitarist is like calling Einstein a “mathematician”. Sure, Albert was great at math, but that was only the tool that he used – his true genius was in uncovering laws and truths about our universe. In much the same way, Howe’s genius is in writing, orchestrating and arranging music in an extremely compelling and original way. It so happens that he’s a stringed-instrument virtuoso (not just guitar, but pedal steel, mandolin, lute, etc) – but that’s just one of the many tricks the maestro has up his sleeve. He creates music that is rich with tonal colors and textures, and both as a solo artist and with the sublime music of Yes has guided my own musical journey for the majority of my life. On this latest CD, Steve allows himself a considerably greater freedom to explore a multitude of genres than he typically does. There’s jazz, there’s country (always evident in his compositions. Artfully injected into even the most progressive of pieces, there’s usually a way-cool Chet-like lick in there somewhere…), there’s blues (yes, Steve plays blues…!), there’s classical, and of course there’s rock. Steve weaves it all into a tapestry that is rich in color and substance. He is truly a musician first, and an instrumentalist second. On a personal note, I play guitar, and I can honestly say that there has been no greater influence on me than the music - and more importantly the musical approach - of Steve Howe. The notion that all styles can be blended, that all have value, and that all can be woven into a whole greater than the sum of their parts – THANKS, Steve, for an invaluable lesson and ongoing example….by…. Mick Guitar….~


Steve Howe’s Remedy released Elements in 2003 and it starts off with the hard hitting Across The Cobblestone in which Steve’s voice fits perfectly. Bee Strings is another fast paced rocker but without vocals. The album then takes a turn with a jazzy instrumental called Westwinds which features Steve trading licks with a horn section while the rest of the band holds down a cool groove. Where I Belong changes the setting with a nice country/folk/rock feeling with Steve in good voice. Whiskey Hill continues in the same vain as Where I Belong but without vocals sort of like the opening two numbers. The Chariot Of Gold, another instrumental, is in a jazz/funk groove. The instrumental Tremolando is a very pretty number while Pacific Haze has a nice laid back jazz feel. Load Of My Mind is more rocking and features the first vocals since Where I Belong. Hecla Lava pretty much is just a short instrumental variation of Load Of My Mind. The instrumental Smoke Silver has a jazz/funk/pop/prog feel as it bounces around a bit. Inside Out Muse is a slow blues filled instrumental. Rising Sun is another rocker while Sand Devil is a bit ambient sounding which leads into The Longing. The album ends with the peaceful A Drop In The Ocean. If you don’t mind mostly instrumental albums that span several genres, then this might be right up your alley….by…Grateful Jerry….~


For 35 years, Steve Howe has been at the forefront of guitarists in popular music. Actually, simply referring to Howe as a guitarist is limiting. In addition to being a songwriter, he plays more instruments than just the guitar. If it has strings and a fretboard, Howe has mastered it and recorded with it at some point on one of countless albums he’s been a part of as a group member, solo artist and special guest. Since starting his musical journey, Steve has lived with the idea of forming his own band. That idea has how become reality with the Autumn 2003 release of ‘Elements’ from ‘Steve Howe’s Remedy’ 

Born in London, Steve received his first guitar at age 12. Self taught, he was playing publicly with bands in his early teens. Howe was bitten by the rock ‘n’ roll bug and in addition to being inspired by the likes of Bill Haley and His Comets, he was also greatly influenced by country guitarist Chet Atkins. 

By Howe’s late teens, he had joined the Syndicats, performing P Pop, Rock and Blues covers. His next band, the In Crowd, soon evolved into Tomorrow, one of the first psychedelic rock bands in the UK. Tomorrow had a hit with “My White Bicycle”. 

Howe’s life changed in 1970 when he joined Yes. Certainly unforeseen at the time, but this move would significantly help alter the course of popular music. Howe replaced original guitarist Peter Banks and with his arrival for Yes’ third LP, 1971’s 'The Yes Album,’ the band found its creative voice and unquestionably became the dominant force of the burgeoning progressive rock movement. Yes’ early work included many cover songs, but with Howe in the fold, he formed an important songwriting bond with vocalist Jon Anderson the band’s visionary, complex music thrilled listeners world-wide. 

Yes’ 1971 masterpiece 'Fragile’ and its signature song “Roundabout” became huge worldwide hits and, to this day, stand as rock music monuments. Should any progressive rock novice need to be pointed to a single representation of the form, 'Fragile’ is it. The 1972 follow-up 'Close to the Edge’ is equally revered. 

Howe’s restless creativity resulted in the release of his first two solo albums in the 1970s. He released 'Beginnings’ in 1975 and 'The Steve Howe Album’ in 1979 while he was still firmly entrenched in Yes’ worldwide superstardom. Yes experienced several personnel changes in the 1970s, and although the band’s sound and style varied on studio albums like 'Tales From Topographic Oceans,’ 'Relayer,’ 'Going for the One,’ 'Tormato’ and 'Drama,’ Howe was a cornerstone. 

After Yes disbanded in 1980, Howe went on to become a founding member of Asia, the supergroup to end all supergroups. Howe and vocalist/bassist John Wetton, keyboardist Geoff Downes and drummer Carl Palmer enjoyed a worldwide smash with 1982’s 'Asia.’ The album spent nine weeks atop the Billboard album charts, sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. alone and yielded the monster hit singles “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell.” 'Asia’ combined the individual members’ technical prowess with pop melodies and enough hooks to catch an ocean’s worth of fish. 1983’s 'Alpha’ was also successful, but Howe left the band and pursue a solo career. 

The musically proficient yet pop-friendly style of Asia was continued with Howe’s next project, GTR, which he formed with former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, also a member of progressive rock royalty. GTR recorded just one album, 1986’s self-titled opus, which became a hit as did its single “When the Heart Rules the Mind.” 

Yes reappeared in Howe’s life when he and fellow alumni Anderson, keyboardist Rick Wakeman and drummer Bill Bruford released 'Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe’ in 1989. It’s single “Brother of Mine” was a rock radio hit and a successful tour followed. In 1991, in an unprecedented move unmatched in popular music, Howe and seven other key members of Yes throughout its history joined forces for the album 'Union’ and a hugely successful, critically acclaimed tour. 

1991 also marked the start of Howe’s prolific output as a solo artist. He issued 'Turbulence’ that year and 'The Grand Scheme of Things’ in 1993. Howe also toured widely as a solo artist – literally – and 1994’s live album 'Not Necessarily Acoustic’ was the result. He rejoined Yes in 1995 for the classic line-up featuring himself, Anderson, Wakeman, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White. He has remained with Yes since, although it experienced some of its regular personnel shuffles in the late 1990s. Howe kept busy recording and touring with Yes while issuing solo albums like 'Homebrew,’ 'Quantum Guitar,’ the live 'Pulling Strings,’ 'Portraits of Bob Dylan,’ 'Homebrew 2’ and 'Natural Timbre.’ 

Following an enormously successful tour with the “classic Yes” line-up of Howe, Anderson, Wakeman, Squire and White, autumn 2002 saw the release of Howe’s ethereal 'Skyline’ album. The 2003 album ‘Elements’ is the culmination of Steve’s vast musical experience. The band consists of his two sons Dylan (drums) and Virgil (keyboards) with Gilad Atzmon (sax, clarinet and flute) and Derrick Taylor (bass). Legendary artist Roger Dean created the album’s artwork. 

“I began my musical journey with ears excited by rock and roll, the blues and later jazz. It seems timely that I can now combine these styles to make "Elements”. To expand the possibilities I have formed Remedy, a group that performs my music. Here 13 instrumentals and 3 songs combine my influences, new and old, to explore how progressive rock developed its own personality"……~


This album is credited not just to Steve Howe as a solo artist, but to a band called Steve Howe’s Remedy. This immediately gives the impression that this is going to be radically different from the solo albums Steve has put out over the years. And this turns out to be at least partly true. Several numbers on Elements do have more of a band feel than many of Howe’s regular solo albums. The most similar album in his catalogue is The Grand Scheme Of Things, which also happens to be my favourite Steve Howe album. Both Elements and The Grand Scheme Of Things have 16 tracks each, and both run for about an hour. These two albums also have a mix of vocal numbers and instrumentals and they are a bit more rock oriented compared to most of Steve’s output. However, Elements has a Jazz feeling (often too jazzy for my taste) largely absent from the more rock oriented The Grand Scheme Of Things. 
There are very few of the vocal numbers on Elements (probably as a result of much criticism on Howe’s vocal ability). He is not a great singer, but I think he handles the vocals fully acceptably and I would like to have seen more proper songs here. The instrumental material is very good and quite varied; Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and some other styles are touched upon. 

Despite all the variety, this album tend to get a bit too samey towards the end. An hour is simply too long for this material to keep the listeners attention. This album also lacks acoustic numbers, like the ones on the Natural Timbre album. Maybe if he took the best from that album and put it together with the best from this one, he could have made a much better album? 

The track Hecla Lava cannot be interpreted in any other way than as a Brian May tribute. It has exactly Brian May’s style and his unique use of echoed harmonies. Smoke Silver is my favourite track on Elements though, amazing guitar work! 

Elements is not as good as The Grand Scheme Of Things, but still clearly one of Steve Howe’s very best solo albums (the competition is not very fierce, though!) And there is a lot to enjoy here for the Steve Howe fan….by…by SouthSideoftheSky …~


Every so often Steve Howe delights us with his solo trips, and it has to be said that he does not always present the same, even though there are certain predictable structures: he had shown some kind of “easy-ambient” on the previous album “Skyline” So he goes back to his solo roots, but adds jazz, swing and blues. This project must have become so important to him that he launched a new “band” named “Remedy” for that very reason - I have to admit that I could hardly decide to make this formation as an independent band here (for me) is Howe = Howe = Howe), but then I figured I could not judge that better than the Master himself, and he’s even worth a few notes in the booklet. All right then: 

Subjectively, as I am as a human, I have to admit that “Skyline” did not convince me in some way, and “Elements” does not do it any other way. But none of the new songs is bad: those who already liked the old “Steve Howe Album” can now celebrate many reunions: “Where I belong” could have come smoothly, especially “Chariot of gold”, that has even a similar one Guitar base like “Pennants” from the old times. It’s also always nice how Steve Howe does not miss a guitar sound ever created, but in my ears it’s nothing but “nice”, his music has not torn me from a chair since the album “Grand scheme of things”, because, despite (or because of?) all the refinements of technology, coupled with Howe’s undeniable virtuosity, 

Also, the jazzy structures with brass inlays, which I personally like quite a bit (“Pacific Haze”, for example, has almost something of a Sinatra arrangement), can not convince me that there is real inspiration behind it; it’s old wine in new hoses, nothing more - which is not negative at all, because: Predictably, the music of Steve’s name and guitar cousin Hackett is also, but at the I still hear more passion out, that goes a little further the skin. 

Hm, this Rezi has become really short for my circumstances :-). Still the conclusion: Who liked Howe always and just likes to hear well played, handmade music, should really access this album - there is almost nothing that does not exist: In addition to the above styles are also real Abrocker and even Frickel- Shorttracks to it. But anyone who has thought: 'new band, new kick’ will hardly endure the 60 minutes until the end ….By: Henning Mangold…babyblaue prog….~ 


- Steve Howe - acoustic, electric & steel guitars, dobro, mandolin, dulcimer, vocals, arranger & producer 
- Virgil Howe - keyboards, harmony vocals 
- Gilad Atzmon - alto, tenor & baritone saxophones, clarinet, flute 
- Derrick Taylor - bass 
- Dylan Howe - drums 

With: 
- Andrew Pryce Jackman - brass section arrangements (3,8) 
- Jamie Talbot - alto saxophone 
- Stan Sulzmann - tenor saxophone 
- Philip Todd - baritone saxophone 
- Derek Watkins - trumpet 
- Simon Gardner - trumpet, flugelhorn 
- Mark Nightingale - trombone 
- Neil Sidwell - trombone 



Tracklist 
1 Across The Cobblestone 4:20 
2 Bee Sting 3:25 
3 Westwinds 4:33 
4 Where I Belong 4:19 
5 Whiskey Hill 2:04 
6 The Chariot Of Gold 3:27 
7 Tremolando 2:13 
8 Pacific Haze 7:25 
9 Load Off My Mind 3:33 
10 Hecla Lava 3:10 
11 Smoke Silver 3:14 
12 Inside Out Muse 4:43 
13 Rising Sun 3:08 
14 Sand Devil 4:38 
15 The Longing 2:29 
16 A Drop In The Ocean 3:05 

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