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Philip Clemo: Dream Maps

Roger Farbey By

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This is composer, multi-instrumentalist and filmmaker Philip Clemo's sixth album and the summation of nine pieces painstakingly developed over the course of three years. His music is essentially uncategorisable but, within a jazz context, could even be regarded as a new kind of third stream. Certainly there are elements within his compositions which allude to some of his influences such as the Cocteau Twins (especially Liz Fraser's sublime wordless vocals), Brian Eno, David Sylvian and undoubtedly Steve Reich.

"Liberation" opens with an eastern sounding orchestral drone shortly resolving into a rhythmic pulse and triumphal three chord vamp, which sets the tone for much of this strange and mesmerising album.

"Shadow Seas" evinces a darker mood with a subtle bass-dominated beat and barely audible assorted instrumentation but is no less hypnotic than its predecessor. "Magnetic" has a vague resonance of Miles Davis's Sketches Of Spain but with Evi Vine's ethereal voice substituting for Miles's muted trumpet. "Lark" begins almost imperceptibly but breaks into a gentle guitar and cello driven folky theme which is followed by a steady percussive beat driving to its conclusion.

A ghostly, faint single note concludes the piano dominated "The Return Of The Familiarity" which displays Reichian overtones; a string of repeated notes played against a abstract soundscape backdrop.

A steady tabla-like beat underpins "Water In The Flow," whilst ethereal voices and sustained assorted instruments overlay the piece. "Burn" has a Terry Riley feel with voice and electronics vying for pole position. The short "Awaken Now" utilises tape effects played backwards along with voices but fades out to reveal "Home" with cellos stating the theme, accompanied by jangly guitars, bass and carefully restrained drums.

If any single phrase could aptly describe this innovative collection of contemporary music then its own title would be the most apposite. It is music crying out for a film to accompany and there are even resonances of the dreamy but less known scores which Pink Floyd produced for movies such as More and Zabriskie Point. But Dream Maps certainly requires no cinematography to be fully appreciated for its irresistible and idiosyncratic charm.

Track Listing: Liberation; Shadow Seas; Magnetic; Lark; The Return Of Familiarity; Water In The Flow; Burn; Awaken Now; Home.

Personnel: Philip Clemo: voice, electric & acoustic guitars; keyboards; electronics; Evi Vine: voice; Arve Henriksen: trumpet, voice; Byron Wallen, Henry Lowther: trumpet, flugelhorn; Pip Eastop: French horn; Oren Marshall: tuba; Sarah Homer: clarinet, bass clarinet; Clive Bell: flute (track 8); Kevin Pollard: piano, organ; Thomas Bloch: ondes martenot; glass harmonica; Emily Burridge, Peter Gregson: cello; B.J. Cole: pedal steel guitar; Phil Wheeler, Simon Hopkins: electric guitar; Simon Edwards: electric bass, double bass; John Edwards: double bass; Nikko Grosz: electric bass; Martin Ditcham: drums, percussion; Dirk Wachtelaer, Martin France: drums.

Title: Dream Maps | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: All Colours Arts


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