Friday, 9 September 2011

Album review by Antares, independant producer, Magick River

Bigger Picture, Part 1

As an independent music producer I tend to network with kindred spirits, and sometimes I receive pleasant surprises in the post. The most recent CD surprise was a massive labor of love by somebody I have yet to meet, but whom I feel I already know. His name is Dave Blackman and he's married to a jazz singer and pianist named Rebecca. I don't know how long Dave has been working on this epic project called THE BIGGER PICTURE - but he's just completed Part One, recording under the name Bluff Ultimate & The Ultimatum.

A large part of the music consists of meticulously layered choral voices, inspired no doubt by Gregorian Chants and perhaps an early childhood participation in church choirs - but African drums soon burst upon the soundscape, followed by snatches of bluesy vaudeville, jazzy burlesque, and even country music. Stitching the musical patchwork together is a narrative thread rooted in contemporary cosmomythology, with evocative allusions to the Grail Bloodlines, Zecharia Sitchin's Sumerian Skygods (the much-maligned Anunnaki), and linking it all to Neo-Nazis and the New World Order Illuminati.

The scope of Dave Blackman's musical and thematic vision is epic, to say the least - and to attempt such a project in a home studio with digital samplers, rhythm sequencers, guitars, keyboards - and the low-budget assistance of a few good friends - is, well, extremely courageous or foolhardy (depending on the listener's tendency to be empathetic or hostile).

Nevertheless, Blackman's wry sense of humor offsets the exopolitical seriousness and sonority of his musical saga - and brings it back home to a strangely familiar soundtrack for a docudrama on the origins and destiny of the human species. His robust musicianship ensures that the music is generally listenable and often even inspiring.

This isn't an easily categorizable release - and I admit to being partial to the offbeat and unexpected in music. What Dave Blackman is attempting with this album reminds me of a series of illustrated bible stories I was exposed to as a child. However, the intent is hardly religious, as the information encoded in the narrative is essentially a deconstruction of religious orthodoxy.

THE BIGGER PICTURE speaks directly to those who already suspect something isn't quite right about The Official Version of Everything.


Thursday, 8 September 2011

New recordings on the way

We have just started to record some new songs for the next CD, starting with "Robin Goodfellow" and "Tell No-one". These will be officially released sometime before Christmas 2011, with a few special recordings/arrangements for everyone on our mailing list!

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