tag : bright yellow-green apples: basement blues

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Sunday, February 20, 2005

basement blues

So I'm pottering around online on a Saturday night, and I get a message from Mary. She's reviewed the songs that Martin sent her, and wants me to post her comments up (what with her site playing up and Martin's being deemed innapropriate). This feels like an inbred den of mutual congratulation. But it might actually get me some comments here again, and it's always nice to be in the middle of some artsy discussion - no matter the taint of cronyism. So with further adoo, here it goes something like this...


A loverly tape by Martin White and assorted mates, reviewed by moi.

This tape has been in my tape player for several days now, but I only got round to reviewing it now. For those of you who do not know martin, his blog is linked somewhere to your right. He is a very nice personne I met on the talkback forum, who writes songs and sings and plays them and so forth. I’ve heard a few of his songs on mp3, but this is the first time I’ve had a whole lot of them together on tape! 27, no less! *is very happy* so let’s get to it, shall we? :-)

1. By your side. This is really just a bit of a tune cos Martin explains he hasn’t got round to recording the rest of it, but it’s an exceptionally gorgeous tune so I would recommend he records the rest of it!

2. Fel sel. Really nice kind of plinky tune. (for want of a better adjective!) Beautiful singing. I haven’t described Martin’s voice yet, it’s lovely, quite a big range and just a sort of gentleness to it. And sometimes he goes into little moaney bits (which I’m assured is a technical term) which are wonderful. Great lyrics too.

3. Salo This has a really good trance-y ness to it. I’m not sure what the proper genre is for it, it’s just random and very relaxing. Slightly hypnotic, what with the words “lilo halo” being repeated by one martin while another martin does a tune over the top of them. Way too technical for me to understand how that’s recorded! Apparently this freaks his dog out though. This is the song my mum said she liked, but thought martin must have been “on something” when he wrote it. :-P Not the kind of music I usually enjoy, but it has a peacefulness that seeps into you after a while and it’s well done.

4. B-mystic First thing that strikes you about this one is the brilliant guitar riff at the start, really good. Great lyrics again, very short.

5. A move Another slight change in genres here, this one is more funky, really good electric guitar. The lyrics are great yet again, poetry. Just so cool and random “There cannot be another terracotta army”

6. Don’t be so sad. This one appears to have bit of a history behind it, we’re back to the acousticness. More lovely plinky guitar and lovely lyrics “Can’t see a world through carpet signs”

7. Katie Coathanger. Best title off the whole tape! :-) Samples bits of crufts dog show, which I was sceptical about at first but they actually fit in very well with the folksy guitar playing.

8. I think you need space. Another spurt of amazing lyrics (does this guy ever write crap ones, i wonder?!) and slow, plucked guitar. Very nice and very short.

9. (you’ve had a) Long day. Really good twangy guitar coupled with (guess what) yet more great lyrics. Really Martin, you’ve got a career in poetry if the music/criminology thing doesn’t work out…

10. Headwire. This is, I think, my fave song off the whole tape. Lyrics, as per usual, exceptional, fantastic tune, good guitar and drums accompaniment…it rocks! Above all, the tune is lovely. It manages to be repetitive without being boring, and the piano part soars above it all as martin sings beautifully, and then it gradually fades away. Wonderfulness.

11. Colourblind. A cover originally by the counting crows, this is also a fab song. Lovely words, lovely tune, and the bit in the middle is beautiful, when the piano has a solo for a moment and then the whole thing starts again.

12. Water by the island. Fantastic guitar riff here, rock like and menacing. And again, killer words. But short.

13. She’s a mystery to me. A cover of a veeery obscure U2 song. It’s gorgeous, apparently it’s being played at about a fifth of the intended speed, but it’s lovely this way, laid back and the lyrics are sung very clearly and matter-of-factly, sounds really good. And in the middle martin takes it into a version of the hymn “I surrender all”, which is typical of the randomness that makes up this tape, and is fantastic. The perfect soundtrack to staring out of the window aimlessly, as I am doing at this moment in time. Beeyoootiful.

14. Tearing up the sky. Another song, another great guitar riff. This guy is better than guitar than I could be unless I gained twice the number of fingers and received intensive lessons from Eric Clapton for 12 years.

15. Midsummer. Samples R.E.M to great effect, another vibey one to kick off side 2. The drawled “heyyyy” at the start is wonderful, which precedes more fab lyrics from Mr White. “You severed all your pain in a chipboard coat” is my favourite line.

16. Fall in line. A really great tune which has a slightly sinister tone to it, and again, good words. I’m sure it’s making boring reading to have to repeat this for every song, but it’s true! The coolest line in this one: “I overprotect you like God”.

17. Bridlig haze. Lots of beautiful moaney bits to be had here. As well as a funky bassline and exorcist sound bites! What more does a song need?

18. Is it my turn. More sinister sounding guitar, this time on an electric. And played very well. Especially in the later bits when it gets louder. Luverly lyrics, as always.

19. Beautiful psycho. Gorgeous tune. And nice guitar. Also very restful and good cloud-watching music.

20. Brazenkid. Ploddingness and incomprehensible but intriguing vocals. I admit it’s not me fave, but it’s well done, if you like that sort of thing. Has a hypnotic quality about it. And the lyrics, although indistinguishable in the actual piece, are fantastic. “Virtually sliding from your ruins, That darken my faith.”

21. Clair de Lune. By Debussy, this guitar and piano version is well arranged and very pretty. My dad paraphrased Chairman Mao upon hearing it, “Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a thousand versions contend”. So there you go.

22. (soundtrack to a) Car advert. Most car advert like. The tingle of anticipation at the start, followed by the rhythm of the car driving around. All it lacked were the “oohs” and “ahhs” of jealous car-owners across the land and the little guy at the end who says things like “VAT is 20 million pounds” impossibly fast.

23. I said so. Another fantastic riff coupled with more great lyrics, beginning with the somewhat aggressive “chew you round my mouth”.

24. Cut. More tuneful gorgeousness. And lyrical loveliness. I have to say though, without the lyrics in front of me, I’d be a bit screwed. The lyrics “trapped in this body” sounded to me like “trapped in this sporran”, which is a kilt accessory. Confusion! Still, nicely, if a bit incomprehensibly, sung.

25. a-w-p-w. This song has a wonderful tune, one of the best ones on the tape. Just simple acoustic fantabulousness. Another lot of incredible lyrics to go with it too, “you scream and you target, like a ten force gale”.

26. afraid of heights. More funky bass riffs and well played drums. I’m annoyed cos I know I recognise the tune whistled at the start of this song, I’m just not sure from where. And the wonderful verse: “I can’t sleep for the roses I see, Window passionflower and brakes are canvas, here and I adore, the tide replaced by smoke, here is everywhere, the tide replaced my smoke.” It’s another mellow one, with a melancholy undercurrent going through it. Fab.

27. pesh’s confession. And here we have a short bit of random siliness to end the tape: the words “I used to be a nun” repeated over a mellow backdrop of tunefulness.

So, overall, I can safely say (whilst taking the time to apologise for the profound lack of different adjectives in this review) that martin’s tape is the coolest, oddest thing I have heard for quite some time. Some of the songs were a wee bit short and martin’s voice, whilst lovely throughout, was a bit incomprehensible from time to time. But I’m picking holes really: with wonderful lyrics, well thought out and beautiful tunes and really well played guitar and piano and all the rest of it, as well as a highly random streak, this tape rocks. So well done martin and assorted mates. :-)


Blogger mary said...

thankyou again laurence! :-) apologies for the cronyism :-P

10:55 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Oh it's alright, I quite like the chance to flag up White's music - even by proxy.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

White is also very grateful to both the above cronies for their respective roles in the production of this review.

In response to various things:
- I will try to record By Your Side, just for you
- This guy does write crap lyrics, he just doesn't tend to publish them
- She's A Mystery To Me is an obscure U2 song, but quite a well-known Roy Orbison song...

5:15 PM  

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