Author Topic: Floodplain  (Read 18794 times)

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Outlandish Newt

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Floodplain
« on: Saturday, March 21 2009 12:30AM GMT-1 »
How are folks getting on with the album?  I've had it just over a week and it's been on in the car all the time.  I hadn't heard Painted Lady so came at it with no particular expectations, though I did catch Jon and Sam on the Mary Anne Kennedy show and thought it all sounded quite intriguing and worth following up.

The verdict is I like it very much.  I can hear various influences (to my ear anyway, maybe Jon didn't mean them), like Rik Sanders letting rip a bit during Walls come tumblin down, bit Oysterbandish in parts too.  But the work as a whole feels very original and keeps pulling you back.  I was just reading some of the reviews on Jon's website, which range from 'pleasantly suprised' to 'brilliant, genius'.  I'm just about somewhere in between I think.  The writing style appeals to me, although if I'm being picky I find it's a bit heavy on simile at times, but I do like the way it paints pictures in the mind that set you off visualising all sorts of scenes and characters.  Not sure about that preacher though - creepy lecherous sort of bloke comes to mind for some reason. 

I was interested to hear Jon say (in the on line interview) that probably Dancing in the Factory is his favourite track because of its traditional tune.  I'm not quite so keen on it as some of the others as the tune sounds a bit too hymnal for my liking.  The music is exceptionally good throughout though.  Wouldn't really expect anything less from someone with JB's background I guess, but I am still pretty staggered to discover just how many things he plays and to do the lot himself is some accomplishment.

One of the reviewers said it would make a good stage production.  I can see how that might work. Could be an interesting project a little bit along the lines of some of John Tams' work at National Theatre. 

I hope and believe the album is geting the recognition it deserves in the upper echelons of the folk world.  Bellowhead are, as we all agree, the dogs dangly bits, but putting your head above the parapet and writing and playing an album like this all by yourself must have been a slight risk.  Not wishing to overdo the Tams comparison too much, it reminds me of when Tam did his first proper solo album, after many years in the business working with all sorts of other folk, and managed to put out something truly inspiring, Unity, which is probably in my 'top 3' of all time.

kayh

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #1 on: Saturday, March 21 2009 07:39PM GMT-1 »
Love it!   I bought it from Jon himself (after waiting for Sam Sweeney to get back from his car with extra copies!) at the Luminaire gig in Kilburn.  And put it on my iPod the next morning before going to work, and have been listening to it ever since! (Also bought Painted Lady -Jon also sung some tracks from this at the gig - some lovely songs on here as well)

Life without oil – what does the future hold?  As a ‘townie’ who does the (rail/tube) commute to London every day, I’m starting to perhaps see the attractions of rural living, even post-apocalypse!

I love Jon’s use of language to evoke pictures and thoughts in our minds.  I agree about the preacher, no doubt he's a rather suspicious character - the ‘dark’ music behind ‘Penny for the Preacher’ is quite unsettling – later reinforced by (to me) the sinister nature of the preacher’s men and their summoning in ‘Don’t wake me up ‘til tomorrow’.

And who but a master songwriter could pen the line ‘dystopian eyes and vagabond lips’, perfectly evoking the image of the ‘trinket-laden’ gypsy girl (though I admit I had to consult the dictionary for dystopian!).

I can’t really say which is my favourite track; From dark and bleak, via more upbeat (Beating the Bounds) (hubbie’s favourite), through the boy/girl relationship, the sad despair of ‘Don’t wake me up’ (I admit I can get quite emotional listening to this and the following track), and then the dawning of hope in ‘Under their breath’, (a day dawns brightly, flowers bloom, a beginning of a new start – ‘singing, dreaming nonetheless, and yes, grieving, but ‘maybe letting go a little’.)  And all enclosed by the unstopping rain, prefacing/following the anthem-like ‘We do what we can’ and ‘Has Been Cavalry’.

All in all, definitely in strong contention for the best album of 2009!

Kay

Offline Clare

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #2 on: Sunday, March 22 2009 01:03PM GMT-1 »
I love it! In a lot of ways it brings back memories of my childhood - growing up in the countryside and roaming about at weekends and in the holidays. Did live near a small village which had a derelict factory - a casualty of the move from wool to synthetics in the 60s and early 70s. Unknown to my parents, we used to play there and also went fishing in the old mill ponds. Later on in my childhood a motorway was built across the fields we used to play in. However, for a few glorious months before it was opened it made a wonderful cycle way - and we used to speed up and down it for miles in the summer evenings.... so a lot of the album has a different resonance for me

Offline Anna

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #3 on: Monday, March 23 2009 12:58PM GMT-1 »
I love it, too. The more I listen to it, the more it affects me. I live in a rural community, so it's not too hard to imagine what life would be like in the circumstances (although we have no disused factory, only farm buildings, and we're quite far away from the motorway.) (The recent being snowed in showed us how things grind to a halt fairly quickly!) I have been wondering which people in the village would cope and who wouldn't (again, not too hard  ::)) and wondering how the heirarchy would emerge etc. But I think we'd have to do the vicar in!
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

Outlandish Newt

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #4 on: Thursday, March 26 2009 08:06PM GMT-1 »
Good to hear Dancing in the Factory played by Verity Sharp last night.  I recorded the programme to hear the Lau stuff.  So far have only heard the first track she played.  It received a big build up... "exploding into a folk odyssey" or some such thing........have to say i was underwhelmed.... ::)

Offline AnnieD

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #5 on: Thursday, March 26 2009 08:12PM GMT-1 »
I like the new Lau album better than their first - its's not so fast and frantic, and there are some really nice songs.

But still nothing can beat Songs From the Floodplain, I have to play it nearly every day.

Outlandish Newt

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #6 on: Thursday, March 26 2009 10:06PM GMT-1 »
I like the new Lau album better than their first - its's not so fast and frantic, and there are some really nice songs.

But still nothing can beat Songs From the Floodplain, I have to play it nearly every day.

Hi Annie
Yes it is certainly a compelling album and gets under the skin.  I wake up every day with one song or another from it in my head.  Sometimes it makes me feel quite, what's the word, unnerved perhaps..I don't find it uplifting at all (except Beat the Bounds) and yet I still want to keep hearing it.  Put EP Onymous on today for a reminder of the other side of JB - played loud and flicking between Jack Robinson and RCD back to back - ecstasy  :) :)

Thanks for others for sharing their views on the album. 

Offline Anna

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #7 on: Friday, March 27 2009 09:55AM GMT-1 »
My mp3 player has decided to put We Do What We Can just before Widow's Curse, and it's really quite eerie! It sent shivers up my spine! :laugh: I, too, wake up every morning with one of the songs from the album in my head, and then I have to listen to it. I don't think a day has passed without me listening to at least some of it. (Apart from the weekend because I was at OFF.)
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

Offline Anna

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #8 on: Monday, March 30 2009 11:26AM GMT-1 »
It's not We Do What We Can, it's Don't Wake Me Up 'Til Tomorrow. ::)
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

jules

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday, April 1 2009 09:55PM GMT-1 »
I am not an artist, or a musician; I’m afraid I live in the real world, and have to live in the city, and earn a living! But Floodplain is a brilliant cd.

ladygeeke

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #10 on: Thursday, April 2 2009 01:37PM GMT-1 »
I can hardly bring myself to listen to anything else since I got this album - I have it on my mp3 player while I am walking to and from Kings Cross to work every day.
More and more I am seeing it as the successor to Pete Townshend (of the Who for anyone not as old as me)'s 1970s "Lifehouse" project. The concept and storyline are similar, the singing and musical styles are very much in tune too - and one of the tracks (sorry, can't remember which at the moment) ends with a very Townshendian guitar phrase.
I remember seeing Lifehouse live at Covent Garden and getting very much the same kind of ecstatic glow.
I actually emailed Pete T to recommend the album to him - he may never get the email, but I thought it was worth a try.

Offline Anna

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #11 on: Thursday, April 2 2009 08:10PM GMT-1 »
I’m afraid I live in the real world
and earn a living!

And the rest of us don't?

I appreciate that living in a city might make it hard to picture life in a rural setting, but it's not some kind of imaginary world. Maybe I have misinterpreted your comment, but I am quite offended that you think rural life is not "the real world". To me, it is far more real than any city. We see life and death on a daily basis, we live among the crops that make the flour for your bread, and our chickens don't come plucked and shrink-wrapped. We get cut off from "civilisation" by snow and flooding, we can't get take-away delivery, but you can keep your street lighting and CCTV, we get starlight and seasons. I'm sorry if I'm having a bit of a rant, but your lifestyle is not the only one that is valid.
The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

jules

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #12 on: Tuesday, April 7 2009 04:25PM GMT-1 »
My aim was not to offend; and hopefully we all live in the *real world*, you are very lucky that you live where you enjoy to live, I was just trying to point out that some people live where they do not want to live, which is  out of necessity, not choice.

Offline Ancient Muse

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #13 on: Tuesday, April 7 2009 06:22PM GMT-1 »
I agree that the country is as "real" as the city. Given the choice I would rather live in a rural setting, with easy access to urbanisation. In fact, the rural Vale of Glamorgan (somewhere like Wick, St Donats, Llanblethian or Llysworney) would be about right. But I can't afford it so I have to live in a tiny terraced house in Barry, and make regular trips through the Vale in the Mobile Library. I love it here and I love my job, and apart from wanting to move to a bungalow (it's the knees, dear!) I really can't think of anywhere I'd rather live.

Arthur

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Re: Floodplain
« Reply #14 on: Friday, May 15 2009 11:20PM GMT-1 »
     I see no desire to live in the "real world", but then again, I have no reason to. Unfortunately we all have to come to terms with it, like it or not, that we live a society based entirely on capitalism, exploitation, and money, which most of us cannot live without. It is naive of me to say that I do not wish to live within what you call the "real" world, but which I call the "human" world, but unfortunately, we seem to have imprisoned ourselves in this vault of money, business and profit margins.
     This what I like about this album, it takes us back to the postmodernist view, what REALLY matters in our lives? Is it our jobs? Our financial affairs? Or is it our friendships? Our relationships with others? Our understanding of the world around us outside of the confines of our city walls? "Dancing In The Factory" illustrates this beautifully. Even when our money, society, way of life is gone, our humanity will always remain, and that is the only thing that really counts at all.