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CD Feature/ catlandgrey

img  Tobias

Keeping his Classical influences in mind it can hardly come as a big surprise that Nick Grey is the son of great Romanian opera singer Vasile Moldoveanu. The latter still defies all rules of modern marketing by refusing to submit to the usual promotion routine. Just like him, Nick has a soft spot for maintaining a private and intimate relationship with his listeners. Although his albums have regularly made the headlines with some of the bigger mags out there, he continues to release at smaller outfits. For “catlandgrey”, his co-operation with  Japanese guitar-philosopher Nihiruneko, he has even reverted to taking care of things all by himself, publishing it on his tiny “milk and moon” imprint. And, to put it bluntly: Thank god for that.

Which is not to say that “Regal Daylight”, which was his first truly internationally distributed effort, was any worse for the fact that it received some decent promotion. Quite on the contrary, this miracle mile of timeless glory still shines brightly as being experimental, accessible, contempary, timeless, cooly conceived and romantically inclined. All at the same time, of course. But it is question of common sense that some of the gifts this limited release has to offer, probably would not have made it to the production plan with a “global player”. The creepy animal hand-puppet for example, or the bizarre artificial eye, popping out of the CD tray, when you open it for the first time. And who knows, whether this funny little gecko would have made it to the cover. Which brings us right to the core of the matter, for animals play an inportant role on this record and not only, because Nihiruneko is said to have contributed some owl-howls (where are they, though?). Instead, a lion from another star makes his lyrical appearance and so do camels, if only in the accompanying booklet. Contrary to what one might now be inclined to think, in stark contrast to song titles such as “Dead Fabrizio (A Galaxy of Ever Exploding Gondolieri)” and in right-out contradiction to the press info (which strangely talks about “eerie stuttering fostpolk“), “catlandgrey” has not turned into a far-out psychedelic jam session, but has instead become a gentle, floating, magical, fairy-tale like collection of dreamy and melancholic pieces by a singer-songwriter from a galactical time-fold. Nihiruneko’s salty guitar chords drop like tears onto Nick’s comforting vocal chords, then flow in circles round a lonesome tree on a deserted desert plane. Basically, these would be traditional folk songs, if it weren’t for the samples of clapping audiences, public speeches about “ship wrecks”, japanese poems, castanets, cars driving by, undiscernable creatures roaring in the distance and a choir singing “ahooo!”. But however varied the instrumentation, the basis always consists of a simple harmonic pattern, a sad melody, the guitar and maybe the cello.

Some will call this an album for autumn, but it works just as well on an oppressively sultry summer evening, with the noises of the street and the last lights of the setting sun trickling in through the open window. These two artists have found a common language, which obviously has nothing do with words. Which is another reason, why “catlandgrey” is better off without the help of a smoothly running promotion machinery – none of their cool slogans could ever capture the essence of this release, without sacrificing its meaning. Neither can this review, of course. But as long as this duo continues to communicate with us thorugh their music, they are more than welcome to further defy the rules of modern marketing (and our interview requests).

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Nick Grey
Homepage: Milk and Moon Records
Homepage: Milk and Moon Records at MySpace

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