235

Theo Bleckmann: I Dwell In Possibility

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Theo Bleckmann: I Dwell In Possibility The title of this record also defines vocalist Theo Bleckmann's artistic philosophy. Bleckmann is probably the only human being to ever properly interpret the music of Kate Bush and the compositions of Charles Ives, and his range as an artist doesn't stop there. Bleckmann's Winter & Winter albums, along with successful side projects, have earned him critical acclaim and a pile of awards—including the prestigious JAZZ ECHO award from the Deutsche Phono-Akademie in Germany. All of the positive press could give cause for Bleckmann to rest on his laurels, but the singer continues forging ahead, trying something new at every opportunity.

I Dwell In Possibility—a solo album in the truest sense of the term—comes at the crossroads where art songs and stripped-down experimentalism meet. Bleckmann was inspired by Arte Povera—"the Italian art movement of the '60s that created installations with the simplest and 'poorest' materials"—and the superb acoustics at Switzerland's Beinwil Monastery (where the album was recorded) help bring each piece into sharp focus.

Bleckmann opens the album with three consecutive tried-and-true songs rather than freer vocal excursions, and each offers wonders and surprises. Bleckmann sets Emily Dickinson's words to his own music on the title track, and his singing is sweet as can be. His minimalistic minstrel-like musing, with some metallic percussion added, sets the album in motion, and his vocal control and sense of pitch is beyond reproach. His melodica work provides a sea chantey-like sound at the top of "I Hear A Rhapsody," but the song sounds more like a lament when the vocals enter. The accompaniment on "Lord It Is Mine" gives Bleckmann's voice some solid ground upon which to walk, and he brilliantly comes across like an Art Garfunkel for the artsy crowd.

Folk-based material is completely turned on its head when Bleckmann gets his hands on it, bringing a dark and earthy character to Joni Mitchell's "The Fiddle And The Drum." While Bleckmann's overdubbed choir creates a powerful sound on this piece, his lone voice rings out pure and true on James Taylor Quartet's "That Lonesome Road." Bleckmann's voice bears some resemblance to Brian Kennedy—the heavenly voice that bolstered Van Morrison's vocals on his late-'90s recordings—making the track an album highlight.

Other covers here include a terrific take on "Comes Love," slightly marred by the croaking accompaniment of the Indonesian Frog Buzzer, and Meredith Monk's "Wa-lie-oh," but some of the most daring pieces come from Bleckmann himself. Bleckmann's vocal range is on full display during his "Duet For One," as he creates some upward vocal swoops and jumps all over the map to create a vocal bass line within the gaps of his higher-pitched statements. While instrumental accompaniment occasionally threatens to overshadow the vocals on "Kleines Norwegisches Wintergedicht," it's all part of Bleckmann's grand artistic vision. An oxymoron of sorts is at play here, with Bleckmann yearning to create high art with the simplest of tools; but it's a real treat to follow him as he toils away, creating some wondrous musical morsels and working at redefining the voice's possibilities.


Track Listing: I Dwell In Possibility; I Hear A Rhapsody; Lord Is It Mine; Duet For One; Static Still; Wa-lie-oh; That Lonesome Road; So La So Mi; Ma'at; If Only; Earth And Sky; The Fiddle And The Drum; Kleines Norwegisches Wintergedicht; Comes Love.

Personnel: Theo Bleckmann: voice, autoharp, chime balls, chimes, finger cymbals, flutes, glass harp, hand-held fan, Indonesian frog bugger, iPhone, lyre, melodica, miniature zither, nut shell shakers, rotary pan flute, shruti box, tongue drum, toy amp, toy boxes, toy megaphones, vibratone, water bottle.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Winter & Winter | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Windows" CD/LP/Track Review Windows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "Sea Changes" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Changes
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "All Things" CD/LP/Track Review All Things
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Algorithmic Society" CD/LP/Track Review Algorithmic Society
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!