||Black Sun Ensemble|
Across the Sea of Id: The Way to Eden CD (2008)
Enhanced CD songs Tucson, Arizona's Black Sun Ensemble has certainly been around the block in their 20 years of existence, and they may have eclipsed all their previous output with their purported final release, ACROSS THE SEA OF ID: WAY TO EDEN. What began as a low-key collaboration between leader/guitarist Jesus Aceto and multi-instrumentalist Eric Johnson blossomed into a full BSE effort, as they enlisted fellow townies Sun Zoom Spark to join them. The result is a departure from the ensemble's recent work, and a return to their earlier mid-eighties output: instrumental, with less reliance on guitar solos and more emphasis on texture and quieter acoustics. If indeed the album becomes their swan song, its somberness and whimsy will prove fitting.
This latest release finds the core trio of Jesus Angel de La Paz (Acedo), multi-instrumentalist, Eric Johnson, and tenor sax blower, Brian Maloney hitting a magic dozen, although it has been hinted that these may be their final musical utterances. Fittingly, the quartet, featuring percussionist John Paul Marchand and violinist John Axtell reach back to the early catalogue to reinterpret such seminal classics as 'Blues for Rainer,' Bolt of Appolo's 'St. Cecelia' (stripped of its original heavy metal thunder) and 'Baphomet's Curse,' and the 'Sky Pilot Suite.
' One major change that long-time fans will notice is that Jesus has eschewed his trademark, serpentining "Eye of Horus" electric guitar solos for a more acoustic-based album. This may be as close to BSE Unplugged as we are likely to encounter! The songs are, therefore, more melodic and more focused than the free-form jamming we've come to expect. Just listen to the gorgeous, floating-on-air melody lines of 'Walking Down Rosemary Lane' (a thinly-veiled Bert Jansch tribute?) or the ethereal 'La Paz,' as it soars heavenward on ...