Album Review: Philip Clemo – Dream Maps
Scottish born and Sussex resident Clemo has a truly international CV, having lived and worked across Europe and as far afield as Sydney, and his musical horizons are equally broad. This album presents a series of highly evocative soundscapes, built up from layers of processed or natural sounds from the extensive cast of players, all suggesting a cinematic vision that reflects Clemo’s parallel career in film. Players from the worlds of jazz, classical, rock and hard-to-define in-between genres rub shoulders here, and the influences are similarly wide-ranging. Liberation has a celtic tinge to its melody and an epic sweep to its texture; Shadow Seas recalls the mysterious motoric pulse of Can; Water In The Flow has a flavour of the minimalist soundtrack work of Philip Glass, and Burn begins with an atmospheric groove under washes of electronica, like a lighter, more ambient DJ Shadow. By far the most dominant influence however seems to be the late-period albums by the increasingly influential 80s pop band Talk Talk, when they abandoned conventional song structures in favour of long, minor-key explorations of quietly pulsing drums and piano overlaid by plaintive chords on woodwinds and brass. Magnetic, Lark: and Awaken Now could be out-takes from the sessions that produced the seminal Talk Talk albums Spirit Of Eden or Laughing Stock, and the presence of veteran engineer Phill Brown, who worked on both those albums, as well as Martin Ditcham who played on them, is surely no coincidence. The level of attention to detail and the superbly realised but perfectly pitched performances by all involved make this a very superior addition to the ambient genre, the evocative pieces building through a succession of moods to the gently uplifting closer Home.
Philip Clemo, voice, guitar, electronics; Eri Vein, voice; Arve Henriksen, trumpet, voice; Byron Wallen, trumpet; Henry Lowther, trumpet; Pip Eastop, french horn; Oren Marshall, tuba; Sarah Homer, clarinet; Clive Bell, flute; Kevin Pollard, piano, organ; Thomas Bloch, ondes martenot, glass harmonica; Emily Burridge, cello; Peter Gregson, cello; BJ Cole, pedal steel; Phil Wheeler, guitar; Simon Hopkins, guitar; Simon Edwards, bass; John Edwards, bass; Nikko Grosz, bass; Martin Ditcham, drums, percussion; Dirk Wachtelaer, drums; Martin France, drums; Phill Brown, engineer.
Dream Maps will be released on 9th September 2016 on the All Colours Arts label, ACACDS003.