Body of Songs – Album Review
“Body Of Songs” Is a new experimental album, out on 27th November and is a groundbreaking music and science experiment that brings together a whole host of UK musicians to create a catalouge of songs based on the human body
What really piqued my interest in this project is the list of talent onboard. Amoungst others, Ghostpoet, Bat For Lashes, Goldie, 2Bears and Andreya Triana all contribute. It’s 10 disperate artists from accros the gamut of electronic music, united by a unique creative stratagy: assign each act a different organ, allow them time to reaserch and collaberate with a biomedical team to understand their subject matter, and produce an original composition.
Spearheading the science is Professor Hugh Montgomery, Director of the UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance at University College London.
So, how does the album itself weigh in? Refreshingly good. What could have come accross as gimmicky and shoe-horned actually feels organic and fresh, no doubt due to the collaberation of both a team of proffesional at the reaserch side, and a solid roster of musicians working at their creative peak.
The album is kicked off by ‘Branches of Life’, and it’s everythign you’ve come to expect from Andriya Triana. Elegent vocals atop swirling melodies. Dave Okumu’s brings ambient touches aplenty, and a slightly surrealist sensability to ‘Gratefull Heart’, inspired by the organs interplay with electrical impulses. (I advise you all to read up on Okumu’s personal journey on this track. It’s fascinatingly intriguing and personal.)
‘Eje Aye’ By Afrikan boy. Featured rich, sumpteous production much in the same vein of Massive Attack’s seminal album Blue lines. Of all the peices here, this is maybe the one most Literally in the vein of the project (no pun intended) as The vocal explores the vital role of Blood cells.
Sam Lee & Llywelyn Ap Myrydn deliver a sparse track, led by male vocals and piano ebellishments that just seems to lull you closer. ‘A Platefull of Liver’ is Ghostpoet at his finest production-wise. Dark, brooding soundscape with well-orchestrated intrustions of synths. Though it lacks his trademark vocals, it’s still worth a look, if just for the atmospheric nature of it all. Further Abstract noodling is featured on ‘Follow me Through’. A remarkable hybrid of electronica and jazz, that pinwheels way off into the relms of experimental production, vocoders and vocal harmonies for a dizzying effect that’s definatly an aqquired taste. Reminscent of Laurie Anderson in some respects.
Scruffizer Vs. Utters ode to the Larynx – ‘Play, Pause & Rewind’ might be the suprise of the tracklisting here. Playfull, energetic, never taking itself too seriously. If our clubnight were still running, it’s easy to imagine this getting dropped over the Funktion One’s in the sweatbox. It’s almost like grime crashed headlong into parliment funkadelic and it’s gloriously fun. Bat For Lashes broods it up all over the shop in the way only Natasha Khan can. (We’d be dissapointed if she didn’t frankly).
Goldie is on fine-form with his exploration of the human brain ‘Electronic Abyss’, Chanelling the same grandiouse flair he showed with ‘Inner City Life’ and more recently ‘Sine Tempore’. Drum and Bass framework that plays with form and structure in a way that only Goldie seems to do right and The Album is closed out by Raff Rundell (2Bears) with an eccentric track from the point of view of the much-meligned Appendix. Playfull, quirky and phat.
Pethaps the only criticism of the album is an odd tracklisting. It seems to traverse all over the place without any defined direction, but this is mere nitpicking. What we have is a concept album with 10 solid tracks that is DEFINATLY worth your ears. Most albums as a whole struggle to bring together 10 tracks worth your attention, for it to be constructed around such a premise is truely an accomplishment.
‘Body of Songs’ is Out November 27th, and you can grab a copy at all the usual outlets.