(All Album Reviews by Phil Jackson)
As Jon Wright says in his liner notes “the shifts in pattern, tempo and form are staggering’ in the formidable “Poker Dice”. Propelled by Yamash’ta’s vibes and Robert Thompson’s serpentine electric piano breaks its 18 minutes pass very quickly indeed. “Keep in Lane” is more overtly jazz defined by Thompson’s horn playing this time.
Legendary Scots musician Morris Pert gets in on the act not only by his superlative drumming but also by his compositional skills in the 13 minute “Xingu” which explores jazz rock through brass, fuzz organ with the bass playing and, of course, the ‘multitudinous percussion’ playing significant roles in the success of the piece. If you like Brand X you’ll love this! The closer “One Way” is an elusive, enigmatic eastern concoction, a shimmering chimera led by pan pipes progressing to tubular bells, vibes and marimbas.
Permeating all of course is a rhythmic cornucopia, a cowbell appearing suddenly here, a woodblock there all very much ‘in your ears’ making for a graphic sonic experience. A close relation of Canterbury’s prog jazz experimentation via Soft Machine et al Yamash’ta’s music never sacrifices the melody for the rhythm Floating Music is also distinguished by the inclusion of the two pieces that bookend the album in the unreleased soundtrack for The Man Who Fell To Earth and for its famous cover featuring a print of Gakutei’s 1932 “Ships entering Tempozan Harbour”. The remastering job by Paschal Byrne and slick Esoteric presentation with 12 page booklet are also much to be commended.