Reflective, meandering, cosmic, precise, playful, melodic, driven, traditional and quietly intense, this tape is all that and more, with a maximum of substance and nary a hint of improvisational filler. The key here is Reeve's dynamic musical persona, and that as in as much as anything he is a performer in search of a stage. When Neon Prophet was an original music band it was Reeve who writing most of the tunes and was out front playing lead guitar. Later he could be found playing guitars sitar and flute in the Indian music band Sruti, while twice weekly he now practices with the Rhythm Method, an original African percussion ensemble so in spite of the "new age" label that will surely be put upon it, Nature's Way reflects much of the depth of Reeve's various influences, backgrounds and experiences.
Reeve plays 12-string acoustic throughout on this hour long cassette, which also serves as a showcase for his technical proficiency and technical expertise. In "Grasshopper Pie," "Cascade" and "Wild Mountain River" his playing evokes aural images of Leo Kottke aud Michael Hedges. His occasional use of the slide also brings some of Ry Cooder's movie soundtrack work to mind. In fact much of this tape plays like a soundtrack, but that's not to say it should be taken as incidental fluff or background music. Never, in fact, is there a moment to doubt Reeve has complete control and command of his instrument.
Thrown in for good measure are two flute solo pieces. "Wayfaring Stranger." with a bamboo flute, is right out of the Paul Horn school of flute, while "Amazing Grace" features an arrangement made difficult because it's blown on a homemade bass flute cut from PVC pipe.
As with all of Soundings of the Planet recordings the acoustics are clear enough to whisk you out of your environment and into theirs. Some could argue being close enough to experience the friction created by guitar picks against strings, and the intensity of deep abdominal breathing throughout the flute work, might be a bit too personal. But then this is a three dimensional tape, and if we can actually hear Reeve sweat, we get that much more in terms of a sense of performance-and this is a near virtuoso performance. Available at Rainbow Moods, Cosmic Connection, Jeff's Classical Records, and the Food Conspiracy Co-op.