A release that clearly shows the impact of Hedges' work without being entirely derivative is Spirit Wild (Crash Landing Productions, by Don Reeve. With 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars and a palette of musical colors from both East and West, Reeve draws a series of reasonably diverse musical sketches that he respectfully dedicates to "the life forms of planet Earth." It is a hit-and-miss outing for humans.
Reeve's solo work is best on more concise selections such as "Voyager," "Open Road," and "Tickle," where the melodies that crystallize amid the rhythmic wash of chords and hammered and picked ostinato figures (series of notes that are repeated persistently) are articulate and deliberate. Reeve wanders farther off center with "Celtic Cross," which he begins with a very simple, folk-style melody but then abruptly transforms into a highly aggressive tapping section that builds into a purely rhythmic ending.
Digital overindulgence mars some of Reeve's longer works. The ten-plus minutes of "Rain" and the title cut rely heavily on digital delay for their rhythmic effect, and as compositions, not much happens during all that time. Juxtaposing various ostinato figures against a related series of bass notes and chords does not necessarily create a complete piece of music. While it is interesting to note the intricate variations in the repeating figures Reeve plays on "Rain," it suggests a mood but little else you can put your finger on. "Roses," a multisection piece that evolves from its lilting, gentle opening into a cacophonous finale, seems almost entirely effect-driven and more tedious than rewarding. No matter how challenging or fun it is to play a certain tune at length in rehearsal or on stage, the recorded version should always leave the listener wanting to hear more.
Such is the case when Reeve is joined by Matt Flinstrom on tabla drums and Phil Stevens on violin and viola on "First Journey" and "Sneaky." With a distinctly Indian flavor and captivating melodic and rhythmic changes, these selections provide some of the most pleasant and cohesive melodic moments on the album. It's too bad Reeve doesn't offer more ensemble excursions here.