Open Hand,
The Later Stages of Now
(LowBudget, 2003)

The fact that new technology enhances the ability of so many musicians to produce CDs of their music is a blessing of the current age. There are so many diverse composers and players out there who would never get their music to anyone other than live audiences without the technology. Open Hand is an example, a very original group with a unique sound.

This eight-track CD with one track all of 18 minutes long may not get the airplay but it is certainly an original concept. Using a wide range of instruments ranging from guitars to e-bow through saxes, flutes, harmonica and samples, they give full flight to the creative urges. The tracks are listed as "all spontaneous compositions created by" the band members.

This is an excellent artistic goal and achievement. The CD is well worth hearing, but its audience will likely be more elusive. Unfortunately, the record-buying public is fickle and in order to part with the hard-earned cash, they need a hook. Usually this is a well-known track or knowledge of the performers.

I was impressed by the ability of Open Hand, but -- while artistic expression is very commendable -- it needs a little bit of commerciality to draw new listeners to the sound.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 28 June 2003