Well, this one caught me out. It’s a bit lush. Ambient music, poetry with a sleazy jazz feel and very arty but in a good way. Some may say that a project such as this is pretentious twaddle and they could be correct in pronouncing such a judgement. Best to be careful because this kind of stuff can take you by surprise.
Many moons ago, and then some, I listened to the Venerable Peel with religious fever between 10-12 pm as often as possible. Lights off, candles, incense and headphones on. One particular such evening I must have drifted off only to be wrested from dozing by a headful of drifting synths, ambient sounds and a hushed voice reciting some hippy prose.
I was smitten. Trouble was I had missed Peel’s intro and there was no way of finding out who this could have been.
Anyhow here we have The Dwindlers (bassist and composer Benjamin Dauer and Poet Michele Seaman) in similar territory . Words, words, words they sneak into the consciousness when you are not looking (listening?).
‘The pelican and the girl’ is the opener and drifts along ok but for me the narrators sound slightly disinterested. At first listen I’m not sure the poetry is any good but I am about to change my mind big time. ‘Monkey’ hits you with a very nice midnight jazzy feel with husky delivery- well cool and makes me fancy a single malt.
One track fades into another ‘How the Ostrich became a Girl and Her Bicycle’ rolls along telling a strange little story with a hypnotic swing . Next up a really atmospheric instrumental soundscape ‘Pickering’s Hyla’ making a very nice interlude. Now we have a lovely snaky bass line before the prose and I am beginning to really get this.
‘Widow, Daddy and the Wolf’ is about a spider and, even though you hate them, you are going to listen! Next up ‘Peacock and the Kitty’. If a cat owns you this track will make a great deal of sense. What makes the difference is the voice, smooth and sensuous as silk stockings, purring away seductively. Great stuff deep, dark and worth the admission price alone.
Finally ‘Dolphin’ is all electronics, an edgy scratchy restrained beat and more superb bass and that voice again working magic on the mind – meanwhile back in the mix another voice echoes prose in a spooky cool kind of way carefully layered so the listener just strains to hear, she’s reciting in Spanish I think ? And its over. Short and sweet.
I wasn’t going to like this album but here is a seriously cool slice of action that won me over. Limited to 50 copies I understand, so get in line if you fancy one.
I give in and pour myself an Old Pultney and pour in a splash of water, lower the lights press play and get comfy. It’s at times like these I wish I smoked!
By the way, I hunted down the lost track from Peel . ‘Still’ by Pete Sinfield.
Strange old world.