Tuesday, July 15, 2014

David Warren on Bleeding Gold Records

I've been getting more and more into the Books anthology double LP that came out on Temporary Residence Records a while back. The tracks of crazy mini experiments in sampling against organic instrumentation, they really had that contrast nailed and I didn't realize until I saw them at The Whitney that those samples were taken from video footage which they played behind them, not to mention their Nick Drake cover is on that record is incredible and how I found out about them in the first place. This single from manchester folk-poet David Warren reminded me of their mix of experimentation with organic instruments only David adds a dense poetic narrative that The Books solved with weird, juxtaposed samples.

"The Knife" begins with a drone dirge sound from a Cello and possibly organ working in almost harmony together, they must be off by a half step or so that gives these drawn out notes their own unsettling feel. David delivers his vocal in a kind of monotone narrative in an English accent that sounded like the narration in Clockwork Orange - I was convinced it was a sample for a while but it becomes a compelling story about an everyday situation. The story at first is about catching a mouse and it's the way he presents this particular rhythm in stripping out the emotion from the lyric and obviously creating a pattern in the text. It also brings back the time when there was a crazy amount of samples in alternative rock. Meat Beat Manifesto and Pop Will Eat Itself being my high school frame of reference. It's a story you can't look away from when you start giving in to not trying to 'listen' to it just letting the pieces appear through this wall of humming drone. I want to think those tones sort of represent the everyday mundane that in this case turn into a revelation.

B-Side "A Kind of Tribute" has a quiet accordion melody wheezing away and David on this side opens with slightly more singing "I don't want to clean the house" in a loud forced vocal, complete with pops and hiss. This lyric evolving into complaining about his lady friend's mess. Sounding a lot like Owen Ashworth and his low retrospective vocal that at it's core has that intensely personal edge that slices through everything. You don't even think about the instrumentation or delivery here, it's all about this story. David's stripped all of the obvious, sappy ways to inflect a lyric with feeling. This could be considered the most pure form of pop because they deliberately leave the emotional part up to you to figure out. There's no calculated crescendo to tell you how to feel. "Lazy No More" recalls Owen's work even more, the same close and cranked up vocal, the track about not being able to get up out of bed. It's kind of comforting to know that there's other people going through those embarrassing moments and putting it out in the world. It's a short and to the point and will get to me more than 80 percent of the top 40 that blasted through my clock radio for the first twelve years of my life.

A thick frisbee pressing in an almost split horizontal color, nearly black on the A-Side and green on the B-Side. Only the most labor intensive packaging from who else? Bleeding Gold Records.

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