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CD Feature/ Paul Bradley: "Cede"

img  Tobias
There is a good reason why „I love you“, one of the most basic and important sentences in human history, has turned out so short: Some things amazingly get clearer, the less words one uses. The same applies to music, of course – and to a miniature like „cede“ in particular.

It might be peculiar to find such a statement applied to the work of Paul Bradley. Of course, the British Dronemaster, who is not half as prolific as some magazines are trying to make us believe and in fact appears a very critical judge of his own work, has always been a poet of minimalism: Give him a pencil and a simple sheet of paper and he'll move you with nothing but a few lines. But then again, his music always seemed to take its time to get the message across, especially so on his penultimate release „Somatic“ - which, as the press (this publication included) seemed to agree, made for a great summary of his oeuvre until now.

Not so on „Cede“, however. Admittedly, twenty minutes do not exactly meet the format requirements of public radio stations. And yet, they seem so clear, concise, compact and concentrated, that its effect is that of watching a blade of grass moving in the wind. The single track contained on this disc contrasts the deep sigh of the bradley-trademark bass drone with organ-like perturbations in the upper register and sharper-edged echoes. Occasionally, the harmonies bend towards dissonance and dark desire, towards conflict and chaos. But it's only in the distance, where waves of quietude break at the cliffs of night.

More than ever, it becomes apparent that a complete stillstand can only occur musically, if all elements are in constant motion. Bradley has used less ingredients for this pieces than on most previous occasions, which were all characterised by a sense of undulation. Now that movement has been superimposed by countermotives, it has suddenly come to a halt. While something is always happening throughout its duration „cede“ has reached the point of perfect silence.

The only thing which will probably prove itself impossible is translating the music back into the realm of language. On the other hand, this will hardly be necessary. Once you've grasped what „Cede“ is about, you will know its message is beyond words.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Paul Bradley
Homepage: Waterscape Records

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