FatCat - New Releases

Five new releases from the Grand Label of Brighton, that I’ve somehow failed to review in time. Let’s try to rescue the clock’s damage, but when it‘ good it remains there so: # 1 – AMANDINE, »Waiting For The Light To find Us« ( CD Fat053). Swedish pop with angles and some soft sugar-acid colours in both the voice and the music. I quite like the proposed comparaison to early R.E.M. and Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, given on the info sheets. Yes there’s something of that, but not only. It’s played and sung slightly behind the tempo of what you’d normally do with such songs. A hair of despair, hopeless entreprise, dilettante, too. I particularly like that »in between« situation, nailing the band to here and now rather than running after »not your own landscape«. Promissing.
# 2 – WELCOME, »Sirs« (CD 529). Welcome starts funny, is funny, carries on funny. Very 60’s UK pop-rock, with tambourine, spring reverb unit and »Orange« tube amps behind fat guitars. When you want to experiment a bit and quit the »Top of the Pops« unsecure road to success (unless you’ve been doing the show twice per year over 20 or 30 years) what usually happens devides your future »file under« in two possibilities. Or serious experiments letting the listener know that you can play more than three chords, basic positions, on the guitar, that you really know about music, and etc. … (click Zappa or Pulp, Britney or Ligeti) or you can simply let yourself be who you anyway are and open the window to all sorts of vivid, funny, welcome details in your music.
For Welcome select answer # 2. Lovely, I’ll listen again soon.
# 3 MUM, »The Peel Session«: With so much love, respect and deference to the late John Peel, but »Peel Session« printed on an album is always a bit like »Live at L’Olympia« (no, Peel is better but …). So what do we get here? Live electronics with pre-conceived beats and melodies.
Is a little cheesy for me, must admit. Somewhere between Electronica and Exotica, with traces of bandoneon on the wheels. Quite soundtracky as well but we didn’t get the pictures with. Failry depressing music, not that it particularly wants to be so, but not the thing I’d play on Sundays in November (we’re Tuesday, it’s fine). Do you like it, really, why?
# 4 – MAX RICHTER, »Songs from Before« (CD 13-05): Interesting title before I play any of it, especially if you consider »today« is: Franz Ferdinand, White Stripes, Aguillera, … what’s before then? Something of a requiem for the future. Orchestral work in many senses of the term, a deep, clever, long thought piece of music. The most striking aspect, as soon as you play this disc, is in the use made of each sounds and melodies as pictures and thoughts. More than what you hear is what it makes you hear. Like searching in your own life audio library, sometime recalling music you’ve never actually heard. Even the absolutely heart-breaking slices of Robert Wyatt’s own reading of Murakami makes you dive into. It’s not like a soundtrack at all, it’s a whole film itself. There’s a narration never showing its line, you can only understand what you have experienced, you won’t be sure, you may think but you’ll feel first. A very rare album that remains to be heard over decades.
# 5 – SONGS OF GREEN PHEASANTS, »Aerial Days« (CD Fat058): Made in Sheffield, Duncan Sumpner. Can I say something horrible, besides the fact that I really like the album? There’s something of Will Oldham meets Pat Metheny (the mid-80’s ECM ones though, just missing Nana Vasconcelos on couple tracks but …). In a way you could link this album to Jose Gonzales‘ last record too. All being very positive and in all cases pretty subjective.
But this music is very subjective at all levels, so. Very very gentle, earthy, like fields after rainshowers, something wet, naive, airy, like watching animals in the middle of the day, in the middle of the year, in the middle of the life. I am totally amazed by the sound recording, it’s not a technical question at all here, but the fact that it sounds like someone who bended whatever instruments he uses to create his own inner one, what he hears made onto the track. Now, if anything slightly more difficult, each song being so intensive it’s pretty hard to sustain attenttion after two or three songs in a row. You feel like a little rest in order to be fit enough. Very interesting, personal, unique, achieved. Five stars, for sure.