[ SHORT REVIEWS - LIST | DETAILED REVIEWS
(59:43; Bad Elephant Music)
Here we have the fourth album from Knifeworld, Guapo and Chrome Hoof keyboard player Emmett Elvin. With this release he provides 6 and 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, bass, pianos, synths, organ, vocals, recorders, casserole and biscuit tin (honest, that’s what it says here) and is joined by Alex Thomas (Chrome Hoof, Squarepusher, Badly Drawn Boy) on drums together with Sarah Anderson on (violin, viola) and a couple of additional guests providing vocals. It is an incredibly varied album, moving all over the place, flitting from full on fusion to New Age and out again as the mood takes him. Elvin is a “proper” multi-instrumentalist in that he is at home on a wide variety of instruments and doesn’t feel he has to rely on just keyboards, or just guitar, it is all about the right tool for the job. The best way to describe this album is quirky, as one never knows where the journey is going to lead, but at all times it makes musical sense and rarely becomes experimental, yet is truly eclectic in the way it changes so dramatically. The production is superb, with a real clarity and distance between the different instruments so one never feels smothered but rather that one is being brought inside a full band and being allowed to listen intently whilst the musicians play around them. It is clean music with clarity of purpose and direction even if the listener doesn’t know where they are being taken. There are a great many jazz idioms and styles being used, but they are combined with fusion and progressive aspects to make something which is accessible and will be widely enjoyed by many. The use of strings, especially on “Wilsons Demise”, is superb, taking the music in a far more organic and indeed orchestral area, but then he can rip through with distorted guitar to take it into a far abrupt and abrasive fashion. Although I have heard some of Elvin’s material with bands this is the first time I have come across a solo album of his and based on this I need to look back at the others as this is incredibly enjoyable on first hearing.
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]