Andy Jackson - 73 Days at Sea

Andy Jackson 73 Days at Sea cover
Andy Jackson
73 Days at Sea
Esoteric Antenna
Andy Jackson did make a name for himself as an engineer for Pink Floyd and their members’ projects. An understudy of James Guthrie at Utopia Studios, he was seminal in the creation of a lot of the later Pink Floyd albums. He also did produce Fields Of The Nephilim and took part as a guitarist in Eden House, a band that ex-Nephilim Tony Pettitt launched after departing the “Fields”...
“73 Days at Sea” is his fifth solo effort following 2014’s “Signal to Noise” and while not really changing Jackson’s “worldview” it’s actually a bit more focused on a concept about “The Sea”… He acknowledges that he’s never lived close to the sea, but while on a business trip he got a sense of familiarity and a homesickness of sorts while close to the coast that threw him back to his childhood and made him feel pretty nostalgic, so he decided to make his ensuing project a “sea suite” of sorts.
There are a lot of Floydian “slips” here, where Jackson sort of slips into later Gilmorish solo modes both in terms of soundscapes as well as singing style, but the overall mood is more somber, which sort of feels about right given the “theme”/mood of the album. In between the moody one minute ambient pieces, the occasional vocal track like “Legends of Mysterious Apes” or the extended ten minute drifting “The Gyre” stand out, but what really dominates the album is the almost twenty minute long “Drownings” (easily 1/3 of the album in sheer duration) that just feels like a more acid Floyd leftover, complete with saxophones performed by former Van Der Graaf Generator member David Jackson and a guest vocal by Anne-Marie Helder of the band Panic Room. It’s an interesting piece but not the best in the album, although certain portions of it are quite intriguing, but beyond a certain length is just starts to tire and feel a little misguided...
The album was handled by Jackson himself and sounds really good, offered in both traditional CD and a DVD featuring a stunning 5.1 Surround Sound Mix and a 96 kHz / 24-bit studio quality stereo mix. While the premises of the album’s themes are indeed interesting and most of the tracks manage to capture the listener, I’m afraid that the sheer length of “Drownings” and its difficulty to engage the listener straight away might be a bit of an “albatross” around the proverbial neck of the album dragging it down with it.