JADE WARRIOR – Kites (Eclectic)
Jade Warrior formed when Tony Duhig and Jon Field (close friends from the early 60’s) teamed up with Tom Newman, who was at a loose end after the break-up of Psychedelic pop group July. They recorded three albums of hard-edged progressive rock for Vertigo, all of which are highly sought after, and then the group dissolved. Duhig and Field still felt they had something
to say, and so reformed the band and managed to secure a recording contract with Island Records. The music that they were now making was solely instrumental, and a million miles away from the acid fuelled guitar rock of the earlier incarnation of the group. The Japanese influence came much more to the fore, and a lot of the music was dreamy orchestral pieces – almost new age before new age was even thought of. ‘Kites’ is the third of their Island albums, and is consists of two separately themed pieces – one for each side of the album. The first side is a musical impression of forest, wind and flight, with most of the tracks being very airy and inconsequential, but with things picking up on ‘Wind Borne’, having an orchestral backing and a pleasant tune. Side two is a musical koan, telling the story of a 9th Century Buddhist monk, and in these pieces the Eastern element is more apparent, most noticeable on ‘Arrival Of The Emporer’ and ‘Towards The Mountains’. Overall less structured than side one, with nearly all of the tracks consisting of gentle washes of sound, with little or no melody. Not really some of their best work, which was to come later, but an interesting example of early ambient music.