Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 18:00
Artist: Edward Ka-Spel
CD Title: Pieces of 8
Label: Beta-Lactam Ring Records
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Unlike the recent, purely experimental releases from the Legendary Pink Dots front man, Edward Ka-Spel’s latest CD contains a fairly even mixture of noise, ambient, and more accessible pop-oriented material. The echoing falsettos, waltz rhythms, and big piano interludes of “The Writing on the Wall” mix the best aspects of psychedelic-era Beatles and the early Pink Dots, all while still continuing the nautical themes developed on his last two albums. “Alms for Lepers” is weird, bubbly keyboard pop at its finest, and the accordion sounds on “Shanti” evoke music from some mid-century Parisian street corner. There’s plenty for the noise aficionado here, as well. While essentially a pop song in that it has verses, a chorus, and even a groovy bass line, “Comedown” is full of noisy randomness, static, and reverb. “Here Comes the Night” wanders through rattles, analog beeps, and soft piano themes before turning into otherworldly electrical marching music, then ends with a slew of natural-world found sound ranging from chirping birds to rolling thunder. To finish off the disc, “8.2 8.3” begins with an old-fashioned drum machine snare guiding psychedelic pulses. Keyboard solos, melodies, and a host of thick, gooey effects gradually build into a crescendo, then Ka-Spel changes direction completely and ends with a long, strangely soft cacophony built from heavily cut-up strings and Big Band brass. The arrangements are all wonderful, belying the fact that Edward wrote and played all this without collaboration from any of his fellow Dots. As the conclusion to a trilogy of ambient noise records, it’s unexpectedly pleasant listening. As an album in its own right, it’s simply beautiful.
For the latest news on Edward Ka-Spel and his Legendary Pink compatriots, visit www.brainwashed.com/lpd.