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CD Feature/ 230 Divisadero: "A Vision of Lost Unity"

img  Tobias

It all starts with a swelling noise, a deeply breathing drone, huge liquid blisters welling up inside its belly, bubbling to the surface while howling with pain. Then the preacher takes command: An angry voice, filled with just as much belief as anger at the fact that everyone, all sinners and all saints, every living soul is condemned to die. Spitting out his guts, he moans about the hardships of life, the certainty of death and how the world is going down in a storm of sulphur, tar and ashes. From then on, it’s all hellbound. As his speach ends, the drone rages on like a fire in a dried-out forrest, flutes blowing a sad tune and a declamatory voice lamenting the inevitable in an oriental scale.

The chain of EPs by Nick Grey on his own Milk and Moon label is not yet showing any signs of breaking and if the spacey and bizarre-in-a-friendly-way moon-pop utterings of his previous collaboration “catlandgrey” seemed to slightly divert from the sombre and reflective moods of both his debut album and the first episode of his “Unclear Perspective” series, then 230 Divisadero puts everything in the right perspective again. For the 28 minutes of this apocalyptic electro-acoustic mantra-like black hole of soundscape-meets-storytelling-meets-classical music, he has exchanged ideas and lots and lots of CD-Rs sent back and forth between him and UK-based one-man-band Matt Shaw, whose artistic moniker Tex La Homa already has two ravingly received albums of electronic camp fire ballads to its name. It would be interesting to investigate, whether their endeavours were always meant to result in a single piece of music, a sound-made stream of consciousness, which sounds so much as though some kind of live-interaction must have taken place that it is hard to believe that the main protagonists in fact never met during the course of its genesis. Even though Grey and Shaw are the creative brains behind 230 Divisadero, the contribution of David Widmer can not go unmentioned – his at first subtle stabs, then slowly rising autumn-coloured cello-lines, make this the unique composition that it is.

Grey starts singing and it appears as though he is so spooked by the story he has to tell that his voice has turned all ghoulish and ghostly. For what seems like an eternity, the bass collisions stumble on without cessation nor alteration.This is one of the tracks,which leave you simultaneously disappointed that the trip is over at its end, yet relieved the pressure has been lifted from your chest. It’s hard to say what the future holds for fans of Nick Grey after this monolithic record. In the final seven minutes, as the surrounding darkness fades into oblivion, the cello rises like a phoenix, sinks into a brooding reverie and then melts like black snow in the moonlight, bleeding itself dry and closing in complete silence. Things could go anywhere from there.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Nick Grey
Homepage: Tex La Homa
Homepage: 230 Divisadero
Homepage: Milk and Moon Recordings

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