Yeoville meets Genevaby Nathan Zeno / 19.05.2009
Some reviews you just can’t rush. The Day The Earth Stood Still from Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI) is an album that reveals itself slowly. I’ve had to spend a while listening to it to work out why it seduces and irritates me at the same time. And I still haven’t worked that out. It’s like listening to a stoned F. Scott protagonist recite passages from religious texts, with commentary, while Kerouac plays the piano in the distance. But I don’t mean to suggest that the piano is in the distance.
VBI was born in Yeoville in 1990, with lyricist/vocalist Martin Jacklin and composer Graeme Feltham improvising with a variety of instruments together. Their first performance was at the launch of the FIG Gallery, and their last gig in SA, at Rumours on Rockey Street, was aborted by management (who said it was neither poetry nor music). The cassette tapes of Feltham’s piano only found the aural light three years ago when, after Jacklin was “singing some spoken word jams” in a café in Geneva, he met Bruno Burel, sound engineer and multi instrumentalist. It’s nearly twenty years since the project began, but this album feels as timeless as a Robert Johnson recording and just as spooky.
It is a record of euridition textually and musically, a kind of chill out album for someone who has read too many books and is chilled out already, not a Cafe Del Mar chillout but a Dead City Radio lite. Not that you have to be clever to like it, it does not rely on its lyrical content delivered in a post rocky street accent, but rather the spine of it is Feltham’s piano meanderings, lazy and structured, building like a casual death threat and underpinned by the aural textures of Burel. Half spoken half sung, “the word to use is detonate”.
It won’t make commercial radio and you won’t find it in stores, yet. But it should be sought out. It’s a tortured tea and eggs record, it’s a suggestion of something that I can’t put my finger on. By now, if you understand what I’m taking about, you’re probably going to want to hear it, if you haven’t grasped these references than you maybe aren’t ready for VBI. I know this is a cop-out, but it’s a simple record and easy to wander through, like a marble index. The thing is I can’t stop listening to it, going down its corridors and still it treads the fine line between seduction and implausibility.
Buy it from: http://cdbaby.com/cd/vbinterval