When you get an album full of some musician’s early four-track recordings in your hand, your presuppositions are not necessary that positive. Nevertheless, Eric Johnson from Tucson who’s now playing in Sun Zoom Spark, Black Sun Ensemble and other bands proves with this double CD that he already had a clear and excellent musical vision twenty years ago. Also the sound quality is good enough, and the material has been remixed and mastered for this release.
The album begins with the great ”The Path Forgotten” that has a bit of Velvet Underground feel to it. This almost 16-minute-long monster also has plenty of jam sections. The playing is a bit wobbly at times, maybe because Eric has played the drums, bass and guitar by himself and also does the vocals. On some of these tracks there are also other musicians. “Drone” is a track that reminds me of the softest songs by early Sun Dial with its beautiful folk atmospheres. It’s a pretty psychedelic, good number that also includes keyboards and percussion. “10000 Miles” begins as heavier psych rocking and then changes into something groovier and again there’s some acoustic guitar and vocals. The little more pop-like “October” is a totally okay, instrumental guitar track that also reminds me of early Sun Dial’s more peaceful stuff. Starting with cacophony, a piano-driven track called ”Co-Serpentine Lines” ends the first disc.
”Egyptian Queen” and ”The Seed” are heavier, mid-tempo rock tracks that somehow bring to mind Ethereal Counterbalance. The latter also has acoustic guitar and a keyboard solo. Great stuff! “Storms Rise” is an okay track with boogie feel. Starting off with synthesizer sound “Osiris” is a floating and experimental instrumental. An excellent psych instrumental is “Icy Lucifer” that already has the same kind of feel than later on would be immanent in Sun Zoom Spark and sounds a bit like Black Sun Ensemble, too. This one also has great guitar soloing and the track works very well in other aspects, as well. Maybe the best track on the album still is the last, over 19-minute-long ”Easy Journey to Other Planets”. It begins softly and in a moody manner. This is a really excellent, slow and melancholic number that also has vocals later on. At around the 14-minute-marker the track speeds up and the going is just superb. This album is worth getting for just this track alone! There are also plans to release other compilations from the old recordings and I for one will be happy to receive them.