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(72:58, Giant Electric Pea)
So, Thomas Thielen is back with his seventh solo album, and as usual wrote, played and sang everything, just handing the mastering over to Ian Shepherd. When I heard that T had signed to GEP I was impressed, and pleased for both sides, as he is a perfect edition to their small but incredibly important collection of artists. According to Thomas this is the third layer of a holograph that started with ‘Fragmentropy’ and ‘Epistrophobia’ and given my differing views on those two albums I did wonder what this was going to be like. I just didn’t “get” his fifth release, and only awarded it 3/5, which was the lowest I had ever awarded one of his releases (and I am only missing the debut from my collection). But the last album was given the highest score ever, so what would happen with this one? I knew it was going to be interesting when Thomas and I were talking one night, and he said “Take your time. This is difficult to get into”. Now, “difficult” is my middle name (and if you don’t believe me ask my wife), so instead of scaring me it just made me even more intrigued. I have noticed already that this appears to be a Marmite album, in that people either love it or hate it, and I know which camp I am firmly in, as I love it. Names such as Geoff Mann, David Bowie, Roy Harper, Steven Wilson, Todd Rundgren, IQ, Twelfth Night and early Pendragon all come to mind, often just for a few bars here and there and sometimes all mixed up together. This is a draining album to play as it demands to be listened to from start to finish, and there is just so much going on that the intensity is almost overwhelming. One must allow the album to take control: let the music take you where it wishes and follow willingly. If you fight it, then you won’t either understand or enjoy it, go with the flow as opposed to fighting against the current. Complex, complicated, simple, acoustic, rocky, truly progressive, manic, all this and so much more. It is hard to describe just how this album makes me feel, and I am sure that at the end of the year when I am pestered by various people this will be firmly inside my Top Ten. He even put a band together to tour the album, and that must have been a wonderful sight to see and hear. New Zealand next maybe? This needs to be in everyone’s playlist.
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