Three new releases reviewed.
24 Postcards In Full Colour
Using piano, strings, transistors and various found sounds, the premise behind the fourth album from the German-born composer/producer is to explore the ringtone as a medium for music performance. As pretentious as that may sound, the results are a lot more straightforward.
Each of the 24 tracks, collectively clocking in at just over 30 minutes, are snapshots rather than complete entities. Taken in its parts, and although fragmentary and deliberately incomplete, there are moments of startling beauty.
As a statement on the transitory nature of the modern music-listening experience, this works perfectly; as a coherent and satisfying album, less so. Fans of contemporary classical pianist Ludovico Einaudi and minimalist Philip Glass, as well as those who enjoy the ambient textures of Deaf Center and Murcof, will still find much to admire here.
Download tracks: Lullaby From The Westcoast Sleepers
THE SLEEPING YEARS
We're Becoming Islands One by One
More than several years ago, Northern Irish band The Catchers were on the indie record label Setanta, once home to a diverse collection of Irish acts now let loose and enjoying varying degrees of success. As such, The Catchers were destined for, at the very least, a mild form of cultdom - which is nice but probably not terrific if you have a couple of utility bills to pay.
Some things don't change, however, as former Catchers' songwriter Dale
Grundle proves in his latest creative venture: the guy can write a bucolic, gentle song that is as good as any you might lend an ear to this or any
other year. Melodies are one thing, lyrics are another; Grundle manages to fuse filigree yet memorable tunes with deft prose-like narratives that ooze
chilly elemental imagery without coming across as winsome or daft.
Strike this one up as a hit, so.
Download tracks: Setting Fire to Sleepy Towns, Dressed for Rain
GOLDEN ARM TRIO
The Tick Tock Club
Golden Arm Trio is the performance vehicle of Graham Reynolds, the composer and band-leader best known for scoring Richard Linklater's 2006 cult rotoscope film, A Scanner Darkly. Here, the "trio" - actually a loose collective of some 24 members (not including Reynolds himself, who's quite the whizz on piano and drums) - attacks with evident gusto some of Reynolds's recent occasional pieces.
From the crime-jazz workout of 20 Million Ways to Die in Chicagoto the keen Shostakovich tribute DSCH, this is an enjoyably anarchic mixum-gatherum. The only thing lacking is any real sense of new ground being broken. But hey, the liner notes are pure Howard Moon, sir: "Without really meaning to, I spent a year and a half writing melodies based on this rhythmic motif: three quarter notes and four sixteenths." The silly sausage.
Download tracks: The End of Speedy Jinx, DSCH