The Light Of A Million Suns
Waiting To Catch The Light

Gary Wright

One of the main architects of Spooky Tooth, a session player on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, collaborator of Ravi Shankar’s, the voice, composer and producer of the 1975 hit “Dream Weaver,” and a member of the 2008 Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band — Gary Wright has been in the limelight for nearly 40 years, and he’s still at it. This time he has two key releases making the rounds: an EP called The Light Of A Million Suns and the all-instrumental Waiting To Catch The Light.

The Light of A Million Suns is a four-song EP that opens with a new version of Wright’s “Love Is Alive.” Wright duets with his son Dorian on a sample-laden reading of the hit, which grooves with a beat-box-like rhythm. Other than the updated drum patterns and the sampling, the rest of this re-imagining is rather useless. The same approach is applied to the next two songs, “Little One” and “This Heart Might Break Tonight.” Wright’s vocals shine on the latter; in fact, he sounds pretty solid vocally on all these tunes. At times, he gets a little lost in the higher registers, but when he wants to, he really can deliver quite a soulful performance. This carries over to the fourth and final song“Hold On,” which features some good percussion — something totally different than the previous three tracks. An emboldened lyric makes it quite the inspiring tune.

Wright says when he recorded the all-instrumental Waiting To Catch The Light, he wanted “to put the listener into a meditative and relaxed state of mind.” I’m not so sure what state of mind I was in after listening to these six ambient ditties, but with a few exceptions I was wondering what exactly he was going for. These aren’t so much songs as they are doodles of Wright’s distinctive piano and some synth lines that never really develop into much. Because of my deep love of progressive rock, I‘ll follow some very odd little paths when it comes to instrumental passages, but this album really doesn’t ‘catch the light’ for me.

That being said, there are some magical moments here: the opener “Silent Choirs of Snowflakes” boosts a speedy synth line battling the airy echo keys; “Curtains of Change” features an effective, slight sad line; and “Fires of Memories” might be the highlight of the whole disc. Gary Wright is unquestionably a great musician, and there are hints of good ideas, such as the Kitaro-like middle passage on “Lost In The Forest Of Time” and the arpeggiated keys on “Stones, Stars And Sages.” Everything is all nicely played, but sadly just brief snippets in what I was hoping would sooner-more-than-later flesh out into full instrumental tracks.

It’s difficult to pinpoint these two discs from such an obviously talented guy like Gary Wright. Aside from “Hold On,” I really can’t get behind The Light of A Million Suns. On Waiting To Catch The Light, I applaud some of those cool synth/piano sounds, but there’s not much here in the way of viable composition or even a soundscape that will put the listener into a “meditative and relaxed state of mind.” It’s damn good to hear from Gary Wright, and there’s no denying that a talent like his should be heard from more often. However, it would be much better if we were to get something more sustentative from the guy.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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