10346-2 Toltec
Produced by Jon Anderson
Released on January 30, 1996
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
10346-2 cover  

I feel like Iím missing something when I listen to Toltec, as if it were the audio component of a multimedia presentation. Dialogue from Indian spiritualist Longwalker, traditional Indian songs, bouncy and light originals from Jon, and instrumental bridges run together like the score to a film playing in the singerís head. The Toltec, as I understand it, are an ancient race of Indian magicians; at least thatís what I remember from Carlos Castaneda. Drawn to magic as he is, Anderson becomes a willing mouthpiece for the movement, and (as the cynic in me would say) itís a little like inviting the Jehovahís Witnesses into your home. I do believe Godís spirituality descends on earth in myriad forms, but the more someone tries to articulate it, the more of manís hand I see in the whole thing, and the less sense it makes to me. So, in listening to Toltec (or reading Castaneda, or sitting for a medium) it might pay to have a salt lick handy, since a grain just isnít gonna do it. Distilling the actual songs with vocals (which is what most people would expect from a Jon Anderson album) is near impossible; like Pete Townshendís Psychoderelict (a work very different in intent of course), the songs rouse you from a waking sleep induced by distant dialogue. And so the listener slips between two worlds: one of thought (making sense of Longwalkerís arcana) and one of feeling (the uplifting and childlike music). However, this tends to stimulate both worlds simultaneously, which is to Toltecís detriment: my brain finds the music too simplistic, my heart feels the dialogue is a distraction. As for the Latin American Indian element, this isnít the musical amalgam that Deseo was; despite the use of traditional songs (and the assimilation of folklore that would naturally accompany such an undertaking), Toltec isnít any more authentic to my ears than Tangerine Dreamís Southwestern scores (Oasis, Canyon Dreams). The melodies are trite but the music isnít, swelled to a rich hue with exotic instrumentation that includes Charlie Bisharet (Iím pretty sure that Eís an A) and familiar faces from Jonís recent work. Had the singer replicated the feel of ďBuilding BridgesĒ across an entire disc, he might well have had another Deseo on his hands. Instead, Jonís critics are going to have a field day with this. Iíll file Toltec under ambitious but unfocused, as if sections of Deseo and Earthmotherearth were incorporated into an anthropology class.

TRACK LISTING

    Part I
  1. THE BOOK OPENS    4:59
  2. QUICK WORDS (TALK-TALK)    (Jon Anderson/Luis Perez)    2:54
  3. SHALL WE PLAY THE GAME    3:45
  4. SEMATI SIYONPME    3:16

    Part II
  5. GOOD DAY MORNING    2:02
  6. LEAP INTO THE INCONCEIVABLE    3:53
  7. SONG OF HOME    1:11
  8. BUILDING BRIDGES    (Jon Anderson/Eduardo del Signore)    5:55
  9. SOUND AND COLOR    4:01
  10. LONGWALKER SPEAKS    2:48

    Part III
  11. MAAZO MAAZO    1:23
  12. ENTER YE THE MYSTERY SCHOOL    7:54
  13. AVE VERUM    (W.A. Mozart)    3:08

    All songs written and arranged by Jon Anderson unless noted

CREDITS

JON ANDERSON -- vocals (and probably some instruments as well), cover art
DEBORAH ANDERSON -- harmonic vocals
CHARLES BISHARET (sp?) -- violin
EDUARDO DEL SIGNORE -- bass guitar & buen amigo
MARIA E DEL REY -- vocals
PAUL HANEY -- saxophone
KEITH RICHARD HEFFNER -- orchestration and keyboards
PATRICIA HOOD -- harp
LONGWALKER -- speaking
DAVID ERIC LOWEN -- vocals
DANIEL NAVARRO -- vocals
LUIS PEREZ -- percussions and unique ethnic sound, traditional Indian songs research, adaptation and arrangements
FREDDY RAMOS -- guitars
NINA SWAN -- vocals
Salo Loyo -- keyboards (13)
Ron Wasserman -- production engineer
Kevin Dickey -- remix and reprint engineer
Candace Upman -- art direction
Sandy Del Rio -- graphic design

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US January 30, 1996 High Street CD 10346 picture sleeve
JPN 1996 Windham Hill CDPRO BVCW-688 promo release
UK May 9, 2000 One Way CD 35146  


SUGGESTED READING

If the concept of the Toltec -- ancient Indian mages whose techniques are still practiced today -- intrigues you, then you're probably at least familiar with the work of Carlos Castaneda. Me, I've only read Tales of Power and The Fire From Within, though I get the impression that one Castaneda novel is as good as another. If you're interested, clicking on the following link will search GEMM for used books by Carlos Castaneda.

 

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