Tony Banks – Sirens – a review

Tony Banks – Sirens

Okay, so back on the 28th of February, I reviewed a piece of music from Tony Banks, called Wild Pilgrimage, which is a lovely piece of music from his upcoming Six Pieces For Orchestra. Well, the album still isn’t due to drop until the end of this month, but I’ve found another piece on Youtube, the opening number, Sirens. I have to assume it’s a reference to the Sirens of Greek mythology, rather than emergency response vehicle sirens, as Tony just doesn’t much strike me as an ambulance chaser. Although some of those noises he used in Home By the Sea…

Anyway, I’ve got the piece on pause, waiting to review it on first listen. Can’t promise I’ll be entirely insightful, but I’ll try to be entertaining.

Warm opening, sweeping swell of strings, followed by a little pastoral diversion into the winds and plucked bass strings. Effective, minimalist tympani, lovely tenor alto sax soloing. If that’s Martin Robertson, he’s good, and has a nice, expressive style. The rhythmic figures in the melody and the counterpoint melody are comfortably Banksian without seeming too obvious. Once again, you can see his signature, but it’s not as obvious as in Wild Pilgrimage. I hear little strains of classical composers of yore, but not as obvious as, say his work on Seven. I think I hear a little bit of Ravel, but it’s been a while since I’ve really listened to that, so I could be misremembering. There is a nice, broad change in the middle section, with sax interacting with strings, interspersed with segments of light percussive playing on strings and xylophone. The flutes are nice, and while the strings get just this close to syrupy in one spot, the sax saves it. The counterpoint bass/cello string figure is also quite effective without being intrusive. The horn section is used fairly straight and spare, giving them very little to do here, but they do get in one of two solid flourishes, which is nice, given that I tend to think that Tony’s best music is quite generous to bass players.

All in all, a lovely piece, and too short by far. March 26th is the release date, and I intend to be a proud owner shortly after that.

Thank you for reading. More stuff to come shortly.


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