ashley reaks

I’m fairly certain we’ve mentioned the impish talent that is Ashley Reaks in previous dispatches which if I recall rightly had a killer punk kick to it vibe, this latest however is a total about turn and showcases perfectly his widening sonic spectrum. Aided and abetted by an array of narrators, ‘growth spurts’ worms and weaves stories and spirituals from the hidden, or more pertinently and accurately, the ignored underside of the metropolitan underground, the forgotten and damaged, the lost and without voice. Played upon an oft crooked palette, the musical ghosts run riot with passing visitations of post punk prickled folk and jazz dialects submerged in a bleakly bruised musical grained in noir landscapes lit dimly by the dead of night. Parallels, should you so need them, are forged of a kinship with labels such as foolproof projects and more notably the Sartorial imprint and I guess Clawfist while reference wise there’s a similarity drawn with Lupen Crook in so much as both appear to be reading from a different song book viewing as their source inspiration the stuff that society prefers us to not to see. That said on more than one occasion elements of Soft Machine shimmer delicately into view, stuff like ‘metal fang’ is pure Robert Wyatt imbibing to a fair degree on Steve Reich, while the deeper you wade through in succulent flurries it soon becomes apparent, in fact believe you me you will pause to stop to make sure for certain that this isn’t some lost Barry Adamson soundtrack you’ve happily tripped across, the musical artistry is, yes that good. That said rogue pop nugget ‘Without Anaesthesia’ manages to wire itself a becoming middle ground that sits somewhere between the much-missed Swimmer One and Birdpen whilst elsewhere there’s some nifty and smoky chamber lounge jazz grooving through the Laurie Anderson playing tag with John Lurie and James Chance like ‘the gentle art of ignoring’. With its regal posies at its greeting call, ‘talk about lucky’ soon fragments and wig flips into a seriously bonged out slab of head frying weird ear groove that had us recalling Element’s ‘sour blaster’ set from a few years ago for creeping bent. ‘growth spurts’ is all at once out of step, out of time and out there, a wonderfully engaging sore thumb possessed of the against the fashionable tide song craft of the Crimea.  

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