A Review: Space Toucan (A Neotropical Dream) – David Cosgrove | by Grady Stuart
If you haven’t heard David Cosgrove’s work before, this varied and highly original musical experience is a good place to start. Cosgrove, formerly the creative force behind Makkiwhip, has granted us access to his furtive musical imagination, and the trip here is full of multi-layered, keyboard- and rhythm-infused highlights.
Cosgrove is one of those rare authentic musical talents – he plays multiple instruments and incorporates multiple musical styles into his compositions. His advanced work on keys and guitar serve here as your primary guides. A number of tunes are backed by a collection of associates and various vocalists, while others are fine solo efforts on which this neotropical dreamer plays all instruments. While it’s convenient and easy to assign the “progressive rock” label to Cosgrove’s music, the whole of Space Toucan really defies categorization. There is progressive rock here, yes, but there are also captivating trance-like rhythms, a bit of folk and some plain old rock as well.
Highlights abound. The title track is a perfect example of how Cosgrove combines his multiple influences into a single coherent piece. “Space Toucan” features emotive, almost classical keyboards in Cosgrove’s patented multi-layered presentation. It’s one of the strongest pieces on the CD. “On the Big Island Part 1,” another solo instrumental by Cosgrove, contributes a strong beat and bits of electronica, to exciting effect. The opening track, “Corridors,” backed by Chris Huit, Mitch Banks & Ray Romanos, is a clever and catchy number with a powerful Yes influence.
Moving away from traditional progressive rock, Cosgrove shows his rhythm chops on a number of tracks, most notably “Metro Morning,” “Junglescape,” and “Reachback.” The latter is an affecting and evocative tune featuring layered keyboard and drum tracks. It really did transport me to a typical city waking up in the morning; the sounds of machinery and traffic and people arising to greet the day. “Junglescape” is one of my favorite songs in the collection. A toe-tapping, trance-like piece of music backed by Mike Cohen, it is one of the most infectious pieces on the album. “Reachback” is another trance-influenced piece, again backed by Cohen, that offers Cosgrove’s signature keyboard excellence sitting atop hypnotic percussion.
Cosgrove is a unique artist and this collection of music offers a fun and varied listening experience. All the songs are invariably connected by Cosgrove’s wonderful piano and keyboard work. I highly recommend it.