on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2014 24 Apr

Hyde And Seek, Or: The Appearance Of Mr. O’Doherty

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 1 Comment

„I came across this record by accident recently, and instantly fell in love with it.

The Name Karl Hyde was of course familiar but I only know the Underworld track off Trainspotting, and prior to that, the Freur song from 1983.

So ‚Edgeland‘ was a bit of a surprise – it’s got a real weary darkness about it, and a feeling that it’s very much set in present day England as it is, rather than an idealised version of it.

From the stomping beat and geometric piano patterns that intro first track The Night Slips Us Smiling Underneath Its Dress, you just know that the rest of the record is going to be genius – and it is. This first track is utterly beguiling – closest comparsion would be Roland Orzabal except backed by Alva Noto.

Hyde seems to employ a range of subtly different vocals throughout the record, and on Your Perfume Was The Best Thing, the voice has a folky timbre to it that suits the subject matter really well: „All the trees in the park stood up and started dancing … and all the billboards on the bus they shouted better start running, salvation is coming“.

Elsewhere (on the song Angel Cafe) Hyde (to my ears anyway) shows a little bit of a Robert Wyatt influence, hitting a poignant difficult high register: „Smiling, smiling points at the CCTV camera in the corner of the cafe where I’m hiding from the world“. What an absolutely brilliant micro-scene in someone’s life, described in music – you don’t need an accompanying pop vid for tracks like this to come to life. It’s effortlessly visual stuff – lyrically rich without sounding worthily songwriterish.

This is an altogether great album – for me it’s special for many reasons. It fits into a kind of sub-genre of classic English albums that look at the country’s darkness honestly and contain beautiful songs describing it – examples of records in this (albeit invented) genre of mine include ‚Brewing Up With Billy Bragg‘, Babyshambles‘ ‚Down in Albion‘, Burial’s ‚Untrue‘, ‚D*Note‘ by D*Note, Burger Habit by Sensation, and FSOL’s ‚Dead Cities‘ as well as Webster Wraight Ensemble’s majestic ‚No Lucky Days‘.

Brilliant all the way through, all though ‚brilliant‘ is probably not the right word – the dark UK skies, dark wet UK pavements, sad UK railway carriages, canals, cafes and hard blurred edge are all over this like a shroud.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Brian Eno (of all people) turns up towards the close of this record with a remix of what is probably its second most haunting track, ‚Slummin‘ it for the Weekend‘ which contains some great lyrics, like this:

„The sun is singing sparkles on the gutters of Hackney down on me
and the canals are the sweetest cut of all, deep and and grey like blue snakes, like bruises, and the weeds explode like dreadlocks turning architecture to dust.“

I love this record. I haven’t played the 1-hour film disc that accompanies it yet. Edgeland itself will do just fine for the time being.“



I found this on another website and was impressed by it. So, I answered this guy, and invited him: „Great review. I got to know Karl Hyde two weeks ago when I interviewed him and Brian Eno about the forthcoming album Someday World. You can find it on our blog on May, 1st. Anyway, with your careful connotations (Robert Wyatt, the word „brilliant“) you may be a candidate for the 11th Manafonista. So just have a look or two. Thx. Michael E.“ I didn’t take long to get his answer. „Hi, Michael! This review was written by me. Incidentally, it was written before I knew about the Eno record. Ian.“

This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 24. April 2014 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    About the photo: no, it’s not Mr. O’Doherty aka Ian McCartney, it’s Karl Hyde in Brian Eno’s studio. And, look at the table: Brian’s Moroccan hat will be of no small importance in the long Eno/Hyde interview! :)

    Any doubts we live in a small world…?

    See also Italo Calvinos book SCHICKSALE, DIE SICH KREUZEN…

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