The NBT Review 39


Bending The Knotted Oak – Melody Klyman (BlackWing Records)

 The singer attacks at dawn. Through the mist, she gallops drumPoP powerful, the tribe swirl around, advance with twisted cool ballet moves.

Now through the haze a hint of Natasha Kahn (but with dirt on her face and charcoal smudges on her fingertips), now through the glare a glimmering of Florence Welch (but with restrained elegance). Now through butterfly wing reflection we catch sight of Melody, a gift of drama and richly chaotic dreams, perfect for these dull yet troubled times.

Then the mist evaporates and we salute the wasted DJ, dancing under neon and primal flowGlow bouncing colour. The robot plays the hook, mechanical messy longing to be Superhuman, just like the singer.

Pounding (angry?) piano introduces Thrill Seeker, which is followed by Calico the name suggesting a softer approach, but the vapors here solidify, the harmonies weave a strange fear into the sensual, the song digs closer, closer to the core of us and we listen and we stop time.

Is it strange, when listening to I Isolate to be reminded of Peter Gabriel, the times he allowed himself to be caressed by Mistress Kate?

Finally we are invited to Sink Then Swim, to let go and let the soulful voices take us where they wish. The ambiguous swirls within this song, this collection actually, allow us to drift right close up to the internal, the personal, the very secret heart, and then with glamour and glimmer and charm, deflect us away.

We can only wish, to start the song again,

And this time wonder

What will be revealed?

Find out more for yourself of this beautiful music here

Trapeze – HuDost (Open Sesame Music)

A lot of bands would close their show with a song like the opening storm here, Trespasser, epic and elemental; it grows from a driving folk ballad into a barely restrained rock creature. No false dramatics here, no insincere power chord Frankenstein, singer floating in the clouds and guitarist growling posing for the mosh pit. No. Here are musicians completely in sync with one another, letting the rhythms unravel, tangled breathless, fiery.

One of the delights of this collection is that it refuses to be pinned down to any one genre or style, but still does not lose its sense of self, its essence of something serene and complete. So we are invited to travel from world music to poignant alternative country, from sly hints of old time progressive, to examples of sheer pop ingenuity.

Knowing the backstory of the albums creation (during the making of Trapeze singer/writer Moksha Sommer was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to prepare herself for surgery) one expects some degree of angst and perhaps fear to pervade the tracks, that it is not the case at all, is a tribute to the strength of Sommer and her partner Jemal Wade Hines.

Rather the songs and the words and the music they float upon showcase a brave steady and rather breathtaking sense of acceptance and hope. This is an album full of the quiet huge joy of living and dreaming, and even when there is loss, it is golden.

For this reviewer, still in awe of Europe’s winter (detached as I am now from the heat of Africa), the mini suite First Snow –Waking-Last Snow is the stand out wonderment in this set that roars from delicacy to raging. In their world there is never total darkness, rather a Dawn, waiting to happen.

Share the light

Catch songs from both of these albums on the NBT Podcast going out on the 9th Sept 09