Originally recorded for Criminal Records in 1980, Looking for Eleven finds Rod Clements and Ray Laidlaw of Lindisfarne handling bass and drum duties, rather than Rick Kemp and Dave Mattacks. The resulting set has a somewhat stripped-down sound to it, though the assorted Chapman trademarks are present and accounted for, right down to the offbeat guitar sounds (Chapman, like John Martyn, has always refused to stick with a typical acoustic guitar sound). This album features more than the usual amount of instrumental work, which makes for a particularly engaging listening experience.
This may be the single most powerful piece of music that the Kronos Quartet has ever recorded, and perhaps that Terry Riley has ever written. This is because Requiem for Adam is so personal, so direct, and experiential. Requiem for Adam was written after the death of Kronos violinist David Harrignton's son. He died, in 1995, at the age of 16, from an aneurysm in his coronary artery. Riley, who is very close to the Harringtons and has a son the same age, has delved deep into the experience of death and resurrection, or, at the very least, transmutation. Requiem for Adam is written in three parts, or movements. The first, "Ascending the Heaven Ladder," is based on a four-note pattern that re-harmonizes itself as it moves up the scale. There are many variations and series based on each of these notes and their changing harmonics, and finally a 5/4 dance as it moves to the highest point on the strings. The drone-like effect is stunning when the listener realizes that the drone is changing shape too, ascending the scale, moving ever upward and taking part in the transmutation of harmony.