This is a double album, the companion release to Gavin Marwick’s tunebook Horizons, and features about 60 original tunes in twenty seven sets recorded by up thirteen musicians. It has toured live as a ten piece band – the Journeyman Spectacular – and all these strands come together under the umbrella title of the Journeyman project, which has earned Gav nominations in both Live Act and Composer categories of the Trads.
“The Long Road then opens with Firedance Parts 1 & 2…let’s just say it’s jumped straight into the list of the most beautiful pieces of music to delight my ears… Ever! Straight away it has an unusual musical voice with Fraser Fifield’s sax in the mix. In searching for a way to describe this, let’s just say it’s jumped straight into the list of the most beautiful pieces of music to delight my ears… Ever! Roy Marchbank’s / Vodka by contrast is brisk and light headed, giddy with drink perhaps. Those unusual instrumental voices crop up here and there. The sax, the sudden focus of low whistle on Marsten / Longmuire, the surprising effective Jew’s harp on Samarkand / The Plate Smasher and some lovely and purposeful piano.
But it’s the constantly changing mood that proves to be one of the disc’s highlights. It happens throughout the disc, track to track, but sometimes within the tune sets. It can be as simple as changing from minor to major key, a rhythmic shift, but more markedly between an eastern exoticism and more homely feel. The shifts between say, Dusk – almost like a chamber orchestra, elegiac and reflective, through The Minotaur / Scented Grove – tricky shifting rhythms, into The Pyranean Jig set – a memorable tune which breaks out into a musical cartoon-caper with a huge sense of fun, are simply breathtaking.
Perhaps it’s appropriate The Far Horizons opens with a slightly weightier feel to it. Certainly through the first three tracks, which seem more outwardly orchestral, reflective, dramatic even and perhaps that’s the distinction. It’s almost like The Long Road has been our journey to the sea shore and we are now setting sail with the ocean’s expanse giving wide, featureless yet constantly shifting horizon. Even when the tempo quickens as it does on the Lowrey’s set or The Foot Of Ben Newe set, somehow the gravitas lingers. Perhaps rather than a journey in miles and leagues, its one of time and years, with The Far Horizon’s heading towards the end of life’s passage. The presence of the track Pallbearers at the end of the disc may support that notion, but you will doubtless form your own interpretation.
This is after all music that will make you think, dream a little and conjure images from deep within the subconscious. It’s music that will offer surprises in it’s constantly shifting moods, delight in its vivacity, but above all will make you feel. There is an abundance of joy, but also misty eyed melancholy to be found within. It is like an internal journey with a constantly emotional landscape. Let your mind wander its course, because when measured against the journey of The Long Road And The Far Horizons, two hours is but a sliver of time to give. After all, they do say that travel broadens the mind and herein lies the proof of that.” – Simon Holland