Nova Cascade - The Navigator

Kev Rowland

Here we have the fourth album from ambient progressive band Nova Cascade, and it was surely recorded and released under trying conditions as this was one of the bands which involved Eric Bouillette who is featured on some of the tracks, providing electric and acoustic guitars and violin. He died from pancreatic cancer and all proceeds from this album are going to a charity for that. The rest of the line-up is Dave Hilborne (vocals, keyboards and programming), Dave Fick (bass), Charlie Bramald (flute), Colin Powell (electric guitars, additional keyboards and orchestrations), Lorenzo Poliandri (drums) and Nino Chikviladze (violin), and this is a mostly instrumental release with only a few songs containing vocals.

They are striking a balance between New Age and prog, and for the most part they do this with great skill and finesse. It rarely drifts too far into the meandering styles which the genre contains but instead contains many influences from classic Camel, with drums often kept to a minimum, some wonderful flowing bass, swathes of keyboards, and melodic leads from flute, violin or piano. As always, I played this without reading the press release and it was only when I came to write the review that I realised it involved Eric, so I was pleased I had heard this without feeling any pressure to write something positive due to everyone being so impacted by his death at such a young age. I am positive about this album as it deserves it solely on its musical aspects, as there is much here to enjoy, and I would actually have preferred it to have been instrumental throughout as it allowed me to move with the musical currents as it took me away from reality. This is an album to fall inside, play on headphones and relax without ever being New Age as there are way too many dynamics and contrasts for it ever to be considered as such.

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