Thursday, June 13, 2013

Loving ... "From Here You Can See Everything" by Ben Steed

I'm guilty of not giving Gavin Catling & his inspirational micro-label Twice Removed Records the love and, more importantly, the blogposts they deserve. This will change especially considering he has upped the quality of his releases ... I'm not sure how he has managed it considering his quality was already very high but my goodness he's onto something.

Take Ben Steed latest as an example of this. "From Here You Can See Everything" is a music force of nature that moves from solo piano ("River Revuer") through drone ("I can no longer see you") to some seriously good electronica that is blessed by the appearance of Hannah Wall on vocals ("Dhyãna") ... and that's just the first three tracks!!!

What Steed packs into 36 minutes is more than some artists pack into their whole careers. The variety on display and, more importantly, the quality of each track is simply remarkable.

Steed moves effortlessly from drone to electronica ... with each track feeling unique yet part of the collective whole of the album.

"Why can't I sleep?" brings piano, drone and some gorgeous glitches to the listener's attention ... it is so deep and engaging ... it really is an exceptional track.

Steed also moves from short 2min-ish pieces to two 9min-ish ... the first of which - "Song for a distant universe" - is a delightful piece that begins with some field recordings and the develops with the addition of minimal synths and subtle chords on an acoustic guitar. These layers nicely build to fill the track with sound ... a sound that is interspersed with the ticks and scratches from the field recordings. From there we hear a melody presented ... a haunting melody that sticks in the mind.

The 2nd of the 9mins tracks - "Thank You" - starts off with more field recordings ... this time more legible (a café or some kind of social space) ... before an acoustic guitar and then a synth bring some melody and structure to the track. It's delicate & minimal track yet breathtakingly gorgeous ... especially as it builds near the end.

The penultimate track - "From here you can see everything" - features an evocative poem that really made me think. The spoken-word is underpinned and complemented by some synths ... which makes it a compelling listen.

The release finishes with a decidedly euphoric synth & percussion piece that features a vocal sample that reminds the listener that they count ... that they matter. I can't think of a better way to round of a release.

I really enjoyed this release and would recommend it ... albeit please note there is an F-bomb in the spoken word that some people may not appreciate.

"From Here You Can See Everything" is released on Twice Removed on 1st July ::


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