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CD Feature/ One more Grain: "Pigeon English"

img  Tobias

There was a short but intense moment of shock when Daniel Patrick Quinn announced the closing down of his Suilven label in particular and his retreat from music in general: A record company with the courage and the savvy of releasing Ambient, Drones, grandiose almost orchestral instrumentals and messed-up folk had disappeared and one of the most unique voices in the scene seemed to have been silenced. Of course, for a man so deeply immersed in music, the farewell was always going to be of a temporary nature, so the return of Quinn with a new band and in the best of spirits can hardly be called a surprise. The stylistical outreach, however, does confound some expectations.

For “Pigeon English”, Quinn has left the soft hills and green woods of Scotland to loose himself in the bright lights, sharp smells and loud noises of London and gathered a tightly-knit formation around him: Andrew Blick’s trumpet has appeared on some of the coolest records of the last years at the intersection of Jazz and electronics, while the rhythm section seems to have been welded together like Siamese Twins by the heat of the summer sun and thousands of bright spotlights pointed at them each night in the darkest clubs in town. Especially DuDu’s bass is of immense importance to the album, its flexible, round and soft, rubbery tone lending both an urgency and a mellow taste to the tracks. The ensemble and its label have been quick in stressing the adjacency to the 70s experiments of Krautrock, even though, realistically, it can merely be found in the psychedelically ornamented guitar melodies, the purposely open structures of the songs and the impression that Quinn’s drowsy, moody and seemingly sleepy Sprechgesang, which gently holds the pieces together and prevents them from fraying out, could have been improvised over the course of endless jams. Other than that, the album is extremely concise and to the point, eschewing mindless 15-minute solos in favour of a compact group performance. Dub and soul (rather than Rock) have infused the lazy but wide-awake flow of “Pigeon English” and turned it into a dulcet summer album which works brilliantly in the park or at the beach.

Of course Quinn hasn’t left the pubs and clubs entirely and you can still imagine how this would get a crowd all worked up with its sexy horn blows and irresistible grooves. But overall, there is an air of relaxation about this release, which seems to herald a new phase in his oeuvre. Even though drummer Gal Moore has already exited the band again and especially DuDu’s input will be dearly missed, One More Grain are already back in the studio, working on the next album. Maybe he never really was away, but even if this is not a come-back, it’s certainly good to have Daniel behind the microphone again.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: One More Grain at MySpace
Homepage: Victory Garden Records

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