Fly (CD)



FLY – reviewed by RJ Lannan on 6/12/2010 – Rating: Excellent

Back in the 60's there was a plethora of polls, a largesse of lists, and a surfeit of suppositions as to whose music you would take if you were stranded on a deserted island. I of course theorized that if you were on that island, it would not be deserted. All theories aside, I would take anything and everything by Canadian composer Eric Harry. His Neo-symphonic works are exciting, complex, vivid and absolutely amazing. He combines many musical worlds in his compositions that include, but are not restricted to classical, cinematic, New Age, World and orchestral. Frankly, I had quite a dilemma on my hands when he sent me his music. I could not choose one of his four albums over another so I left it up to him, then I concentrated on Fly. The lead instrument is piano, but there is so much more music in every song that it becomes a musical experience as he metamorphoses music into theater for the senses. Eric Harry will be on my Top Ten for 2010.

I Am the Sea reminds that me that I am small compared to the vastness of an ocean. This applies no matter what size we are. It also causes me to think about the incredible and countless opportunities there are to explore and appreciate the sea. From salt-crusted shells on the beach to limitless sand castles to journeys to faraway places some only fantasize about and to the dream-inducing metronome of waves that only the ocean is capable of creating.

Dance for Little Feet has a Scottish air to it. It is the tiny toes waltzing along atop yours as hands extend up to your heart. It is a tune that cherishes every waking hour spent with your child, whether walking hand-in-hand at the zoo for the afternoon, catching those elusive fireflies on a warm June evening or holding onto the hand of a little one with a temperature of a 101. It is the dance that will stay with you forever.

Eric allows you feel the ripples on the water in his tune, Skipping Stones. It is my favorite tune on this album with its tinkling melody and soft, ethereal chorus. It is not just the rippling effect that is important. It is taking the time to choose the perfect flat stone with smooth edges, lining up the shot, scrunching the body down just so and launching your rocky missile with a great deal of hope.

The title tune, Fly on one hand is weightless and uplifting in every sense of the word and on the other hand, it is powerful and soaring. Of all the songs on all of Eric's albums, this is the one that reminded me the most of Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi. I mention that with a great deal of respect. With its poignant violin melody and piano accompaniment, Fly has just the right amount of imagination-inducing melody verses practical beauty. It is man’s anthem when we look at fleecy clouds, aspire to fly to the sun or count the sparkling stars at night.

Opening with a minimalist approach, the tune Cloudless lives up to its diaphanous title. No cirrocumulus impediments in this one; just one man and a humble piano that is able to turn black, written notes into golden sunbeams. There is a subtext flashing in these brilliant rays that glows on about reed filled fishponds, zephyr powered lakeside beaches and lots of summer flowers to know and name.

Eric Harry is a noted composer for TV, film and production music and he is also the founder of Calm Radio, a website that features creative musicians like him that are dedicated to expressive music. Fly is an exceptional album of fantasy, of childhood creating memories and mature wishful thinking. After listening to the album, I can recall my son, at age five running around the house in a homemade Superman costume with a red bath towel for a cape. He is and always will be my hero…and he could fly.
Also highly recommended: Imaginary Picnic, The Language of Flowers and Away Melancholy Away.

Rating: Excellent Excellent

Fly – Read the review by KATHY PARSONS – Mainly

It seems that many artists who put out a large body of work in a short period of time tend to repeat themselves and often need to edit with a more critical ear. This is certainly not the case with Eric Harry, who has composed and released eight albums since he became a solo artist two years ago. The ten original tracks on Fly are a combination of new age and new classical music for piano (Eric Harry) and string quartet (The Toronto String Quartet), and while the music is quiet and soothing, some of the pieces are a bit more upbeat than The Language of Flowers and Away Melancholy, Away, demonstrating Harry’s versatility.

Fly begins with “I Am the Sea,” a gorgeous piece with the piano creating a gentle, rocking rhythm and an elegant melody while the strings (mostly cello) add a smooth flowing quality. Pure peace and tranquility! “My Secret Muse” is lighter and more carefree, although the strings keep it grounded. “Dance For Little Feet” has a Celtic tinge with Harry’s fingers doing a happy dance around the piano keyboard while the strings give a cinematic sweep. A piano solo later in the piece suggests that the dancer is gradually slowing down, catching a second wind near the end and picking up the tempo and strings once more – utterly charming! “Skipping Stones” is fascinating. Harry uses tremolo on the piano to convey stones skipping on water and the droplets of dancing water that go along with them. It is not as melodic as some of the pieces, but it paints a wonderfully vivid picture of the simple joy this activity brings.

The title track is a piece Harry wrote while he was in college. A bit more ambient, the piano describes the effortless freedom of flight while the strings make the piece soar. Love it! “Surrounded By Sunflowers” has a bluesy gospel feeling that stands out from the rest of the tracks without feeling out of place. Fun! “Cloudless” begins with Harry plucking the strings of the piano – an edgier sound than pizzicato on one of the stringed instruments. One of two piano solos on the CD, it leaves me wanting to hear more of just the piano. “Next Time Can I Dance With You,” the other solo, is a charming, heartfelt way to close this excellent album. Soft-spoken and sincere, its innocence goes deep. More, Eric, more! Fly is excellent from the sweet cover artwork of a little boy with his arms in the air, ready to fly, to the closing piano chords. Truly a beauty, it is available from Amazon, CD Baby, iTunes and Calm Highly recommended! – KATHY PARSONS –