Press And Reviews
TALES OF KINGS Release Review
"The songs of Tales of Kings by Neon Egypt are first-take improvisations. Yet out of the potential for chaos indigenous to such spontaneity, Harrison Goldberg on soprano, tenor, and alto sax, and Steven Miller on his resonant, one-of-a-kind Shendai Ceremonial Drums travel a purposeful, though curvilinear journey. The languid flight of a singular bird, an ibis perhaps, coursing desert nights from Alexandria to Luxor, then on to Khartoum and Kampala. The music is the tone poem migration of sensibilities, as if the Nile could flow through Chicago.
"The album's whole personifies a timeless river tumbling over ancient stones, or the early a.m. negotiations of a big city's streets, as if mood indigo resided in civilization's crucible. It possesses azure meditations, scarlet musings, golden speculations, each aspiring to discovery in a world of slate gray-green melancholy. It wears textures velvet to worn corduroy. It exudes an allure of rhythm that manifests the seduction of danger.
"Goldberg and Miller handle their instruments in a way that accesses that subconscious place where only competent genius goes. Though there is a sense of lament on the wilderness they've chosen to traverse, never are they lost, struggling to find a way back to or out of any improvisation. There are in Harrison's work rare whiffs of Paul Desmond and Pharoah Sanders (Nejd) or Joao Gilberto (Triamorous), but never more than a speculated moment. He never massages any riff for that riff's sake. Miller's drumming elicits an African-ness, but never succumbs to overt ethnic references. The stage is theirs equally, as in Night of the Lotus, where Harrison's harmonic dissonance cruises inside and at half the pace of Miller's kinetic beat. It is being within non-being: a place where one senses, even at the end, that the music never stopped."
-- Sandy Thompson, Director of Development, Plains Art Museum
Quotes from Other Reviews:
Unearthed - Towards The Sun -
"Neon Egypt masterfully sets the scene with ominous drumming and persistent chimes - beckoning the listener into the expansive unknown before them while gesturing Towards The Sun. Wasting little time, the central character emerges swiftly - taking the sonic form of an aleatoric solo saxophone and delivering an artfully Avant-Garde mix of Jazz licks and atonal explorations that communicate a hybrid emotional state. Fully formed from the band's practiced approach of completely spontaneous yet fully coherent Intuitive Music, the piece seems to exist in a quantum state of artistry - having arisen from no premise, but resulting in a sound that very decidedly implores listeners to direct their attentions Towards The Sun.
"The entire concept of Intuitive Music makes this track a one-of-a-kind piece of art! The purely improvisational nature of the recording transforms it into much less a "song" and much more a snapshot of unfiltered creativity. The tone and timbre of the saxophone is powerful, serving as well in the more traditional Jazz lines as it does in the stranger, more experimental approaches. The percussion maintains a strong through-thread, guiding the listener along easily in spite of the unpredictable melodic outpouring. Really fascinating sounds, and a revolutionary approach to recording! "
-- Jon Wright, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and music educator
"Listening to Tales Of Kings I am once again floating down the Nile, the ancient past flowing past. A farmer dips water into a jar tied to a pole, phrases of Koran are sung from a tower, boys slap mud into frames to dry as bricks. Sax answers drum, bounces from the bent overtones, builds reedy structures on the embankments of sound. Phrases are clipped then looping into lyrical flights. Echoes of Miles Davis in Spain. At times a deeper drum voice casts a shadow of disaster to come, rising flood, drying drought. But the cry of the sax is reborn, it rises like the call of the human spirit, insisting, like the river, on the ongoing flow of life. This becomes, with the sinking of the sun, a bit of blues. Your music, like the sphinx, poses riddles while offering profound answers. Play on."
-- Professor George Price, UC San Francisco
"One of the best contemporary jazz duos on the web. Extraordinary drumming. Exotic melodies. Very nice stuff!"
-- John Morgan Newborn, Musician & Recordist "Malachi"