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CD: Welcome to Bat Country

 

 

Golden Age of Steam (The)

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Welcome to Bat Country

Artist: Golden Age of Steam (The)

Date of Release: 17/10/2012

Catalogue no: SRCD40-1

Label: Basho

Price: £8.99

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

Animal Slices

2

 

Waffle Throne

3

 

Aglow/Piano Dentist

4

 

Quiet Now

5

 

Butter Dome

6

 

Bat Country

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

James Allsopp, Kit Downes

Somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, a dilapidated big top stands. Trudging through the rain towards it, a small orchestra is besieged by birds of paradise. Inside the tent an ill-fated clown juggles a selection of salamis (clubs pawned, loan sharks placated) accompanied by a knackered barrel organ and the purring of a cat with a megaphone. Backstage, a monstrously overweight stunt motorcyclist nervously contemplates gravity, whilst outside the bats are circling ever closer…

Welcome to the atmospheric second album from “The Golden Age of Steam”. The regular trio is augmented by string quartet, brass section, electric bass and a baffling array of samples, found sounds and electronic wizardry to create an aural journey of strange and psychedelic proportions. As a result of some intuitive, empathetic musicianship, all this activity still leaves plenty of space for contemplation and interaction.

Welcome To Bat Country has a cinematic, noir-ish quality at times, and at every possible turning point something unexpected emerges. Aglow-Piano Dentist creates a juxtaposition of extremes, with tense, absorbing keyboards suddenly colliding with a vicious bombardment of sound and ideas. The desolate, intricately crafted Quiet Now moves slowly into a sci-fi world of final dreams. The opening Animal Slices and the skittering Butterdome have a quirkier, more playful quality, and the closer Bat Country conjures a giant red shark plunging headlong into the afterglow of the American Dream.

Every composition here tells a bold story, and the range of musical colours and textures James Allsopp deploys as composer and arranger lead to a heightened, more vivid narrative experience. This is a nuanced, dizzying and genre defying musical landscape – Welcome To Bat Country is surely one of the albums of the year.

 

Reviews

 

25/11/2012 Peter Bacon, Jazz Breakfast

'More fun and games from James Allsopp...It’s 21st-century British jazz which frolics in the spaces between rock, free jazz, sound sculpture and knob-twiddling, and the trio has found a distinctive and coherent way of combining these disparate elements into some kind of mad circus-y whole.'

 

19/11/2012 Daniel Spicer, BBC Website

Allsopp’s compositions show a sly disregard for genre, and a keen sense of the potential absurdity inherent in juxtaposition. Who knew nightmares could be so much fun?

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17/11/2012 Mike Hobart, Financial Times

The album, built on the Pythonesque conceit of a rundown circus, veers from free-jazz fury and abstract beeps to pulled-out blues and whispery ballads.

 

15/10/2012 Robert Shore, Metro

"Welcome to Bat Country is The Golden Age of Steam's fantastic second album ... the perfect aural mood setter for avant-garde Halloween parties."

 

13/10/2012 Poejazzi - Album of the Week

'Welcome to Bat Country feels as if it is constantly negotiating spaces and sounds without you noticing that it is rearranging the way you listen to the music itself. It is an extraordinary journey into the unknown on each and every listen that contains hypnotic and classical rhythms within a deconstructed framework in a way that never feels too self aware and always connects emotionally.'


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