Britain's first book blogger (November 2000). Also available in book form.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Letting gone

I'm really not keen on The Letting Go, Bonnie Prince Billy's new LP. And to be honest, I haven't been keen on any LP of his since I See a Darkness, even if I still think of him as my favourite singer/songwriter. There are only impressions why. Perhaps the LPs have been over-produced. His voice and a guitar seem to be more than enough to me. I certainly don't like the string quartet and background singing on the latest. Yet the one exception to my disappointment is the overtly over-produced Greatest Palace Music, which I love beyond reason. And Master & Everyone was pared down.

The other impression is that the work seems less necessary than before. Less authentic. In a blog last May I referred to the movement in his work between animal and human. Perhaps this dynamic has been lost or diminished with maturity and success. You can see it still in the video for Cursed Sleep. But the music lacks something. Lack itself perhaps.

His minor works tend to be more thrilling than the LPs. For example, rarities from EPs such as Blue Lotus Feet, Forest Time, Four Screams and His Hands, the latter written for and recorded by Candi Staton. Each has an elemental quality.

Mere Pseud Blog Ed discusses an earlier rarity and offers an mp3 of the song Black Dissimulation from it. And this is it.
Oldham's strange and sometimes tortured syntax ... only enriches his cadence. By paying attention to his voicing from line to line - a gift from his acting career - he automatically sounds more interesting than most indie singers out there.

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