The NBT Review 109

  Severance – Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI) (Independent Release)

Perhaps this is the soundtrack for the landscape of the lost things that we enter here. Heavy regret for scenes never played out, words not spoken, archticture not constructed, except in the minds, the dreams, of those that wonder through these creations.

 Or this is fractured folk music, deceptively pastoral at times full of the kind of tension only city boys can thrive on, poetic chants layered dangerous upon mournful vibrations.

Where Accidents and years of thought, combine, hustle and play, humour sinks in dark grey and coats the bottom, and we listen to the bubbles float for the surface knowing that when they pop, up there in that clean air, it is the end for them.

So perhaps this is the sound of that journey, zoomed in upon,slowed down,exaggerated, illuminated.

Perhaps after all, this is just the place where Random flirts with Structure.

 Perhaps after all this is just the place where the Cold Hearted Cynic fucks with the Romantic who cannot die.

 I think this music is all these things, created by artists worlds apart then mixed moulded with energy and terror and then, ultimate calm.

It’s that different kind of strain that Pete Shelley was searching for, that elegant drift that Scott Walker dreamed all too quietly during one of his more pleasant nightmares.

The story though, does not forget to take in scientists and visionaries, history both pop cultural and ancient, and even asides on that thing called Love.

 Unlike a lot of experimental music these days, the words here are as important as the rhythms that embrace them.

 This album will be joining my collection of difficult music that is easy to love.

 But DO find out for yourselves

 Tracks from this album and other VBI releases will be played on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast this coming 31st January 2011, as well as the flagship cast and the 25 streaming NBTMusic radio show (details soon)





The NBT Review 108

  The Man With Two Brains – Dirk Speksnijder ( Independent Release)

 There is always a place in this indie world for the English Eccentric, from Syd Barrett to Julian Cope, from Ray Davies to Robyn Hitchcock, there thankfully is a music that transcends the ageing process, and can provoke and excite the modern listener while seemingly twisting away in a time warp made up from fabric poached from the Incredible String Band and McCartney’s more fanciful daydreams.

This is PoP but not as we know it, Jim, this is Folk but from those strange Folk, those travellers and Pranksters, and this is joyful, funny and yet with a tinge of the melancholic twinkling darkly underneath the shiny shiny reflected surface, as the opening track’s lyrics go, ‘this is war, and we don’t know what we are fighting for’ all echo and multi tracked harmony.

The songs are linked quirky/mock sombre with orchestra and spoken word adding to the overall ‘otherness’ of the record, but also giving the concept a sly unity: within the mostly sparse arrangments there are a lot of giddy touches that make each track a new discovery every play, from the opening riff of ‘Hot Air Balloon’ which wouldnt be out of place on Alice Cooper’s Killer album to ‘Going Out’ which could be made in an alternate universe where Blur was a late sixties band.

Dont think for a moment that is is just mere novelty, take a listen to stand out track ‘Two O Eight’ which lifts itself off from Space Oddity via Paul Weller and becomes its very own entity. Listening to this album makes me really want to hear Dirk’s Alter Ego, Phil Knight’s next offering, whatever and whenever that maybe..

For now though, this gentle love letter to a certain type of wonderfully warped songwriting shall have a cherished place in the cd player and radio rotation for the many months to come

 hear more

 you can hear tracks from this album on the NBT Podcast going out on the 30th Jan 2011