Wednesday, 29 October 2008


MP3: Dumb Terminal

Everything/Everything is the third studio album from London based composer and performer Leo Chadburn, under his nom-de-plume Simon Bookish. Famously evasive in his influences and techniques, Chadburn's output has skipped between dancefloor friendly electro-pop, ambient composition and abstract spoken-word infused electronica.

Everything/Everything is a watershed; a long awaited reconciliation with the many facets of his musical character. The complex backing arrangements are played on saxophones, brass, piano, harp and Farfisa organ and scored so tightly that when played live, the musicians visibly break out in sweat. They swirl in rapid syncopated eddies, mimicking the busy bleeping of Chadburn's previous work. This is electronic composition reinvented and reframed within a live context that relates to jazz as closely as contemporary classical and lounge crooning.

The lyrical content of Everything/Everything is also something of a departure from previous works such as Trainwreck/Raincheck. Emerging from the ramparts of arcane cultural reference points and surreal abstraction, this album feels altogether more personal, weaving encoded thoughts, ideas, sharp flashes of wit and autobiographical strands into an intoxicating whole. Ostensibly about living in the age of information overload, it's nonetheless a lyrical opening up for this most elusive of musicians. Chadburn has finally found a palette for expression he feels comfortable with, and this album feels immeasurably more assured as a result.

Channeled through Chadburn's sternly intellectual aesthetic, this "big band song cycle" is at times overwhelming, awash with timing changes, alive with discordant challenges at every turn, and chittering with the dissonant overlap of sounds colliding and shimmering with strict precision. It's a brave, ambitious, teetering construction of gravity-defying sonic pointillism that creates the disconcerting and exciting effect of an aural Bridget RIley.

This is one of the finest albums of the year, and another step in Simon Bookish realizing his potential as one of the most consistently creative, challenging and interesting contemporary UK solo artists working today.
Buy it on vinyl for SEVEN POUNDS from Norman Records

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