Well – I always say I’m attracted by the ‘different’ and the ‘quirky.’ And ‘The Talking Book’ takes both these descriptions to completely new levels!
Here’s the background: ‘‘The Talking Book’ is a collection of oxidized aural snapshots buried between the gloom and the gorgeous. Formed by Bill Gould, best known as a founding member of FAITH NO MORE, and conceptual sound artist Jared Blum, best known for his abstract pop under the moniker ‘Blanketship,’ and other releases on his lo-fi musique concrete label Gigante Sound, ‘The Talking Book,’ is the first instalment in a series of like-minded recordings on Gould’s Koolarrow Records label.’
As the Press sheet continues: ‘‘The Talking Book’ is a record of visuals. The chapters written are aural descriptors of a people and place left behind; beautiful memories and yet, due to time, corrupted like a faded photo, scenic beauty in a state of decomposition.
Deep and sullen piano notes tinkle while warbled guitar tapes appear in the cracks. Lush drones collect and fold onto each other into a haze of harmony as deep bass pulses drive through he heart of it all. Melodies and blissful awakenings appear in the form of acoustic guitar, organ and voice.’
Straight away you can tell it most certainly wasn’t me who wrote that! But before you pass it off as some arty-farty mumbo-jumbo, I’ve got to say that having listened to the album a few times, it’s actually pretty accurate when you get right down to it.
‘The Talking Book’ is not exactly an easy listen. You do have to work at it. There are eleven tracks in all, each individually named, but for me the whole one-hour’s worth of music takes more the form of one conceptual piece. I certainly couldn’t tell one track from another.
But it IS all about painting with music. And it does paint a bit of a desolate picture. The album cover, somewhat appropriately is a sepia coloured image of an overgrown and unkempt graveyard shrouded by a dark and cloudy sky.
Initially, I was simply intrigued by this album, but subsequent listens have given over to a better appreciation of what it’s about. Like Tangerine Dream back in the Seventies, it would be too easy to simply dismiss this as a collection of odd sounding, eccentric electronic musings. It’s certainly not going to have you dancing around your bedroom like a loon, but if you have the time and patience, then it’s most definitely worth exploring.
(Released through Koolarrow Records on 24th May 2011)