Directorsound: Two Years Today CD/LP
Release date: 2010-10-07
Multi instrumentalist Nicholas Palmer has come along way since his critically acclaimed 2003 Geographic/Domino debut “Redemptive Strikes”. The 7 years that followed saw Palmer alternatively amass then disregard a wealth of recordings while retreating ever further into seclusion and his art. “Two Years Today” represents the fruits of these unheard yet prolific years, interwoven with the sounds of his native Dorset.
Ever the romantic melodist, opening track “Somewhen by the Sea” invites the listener into Palmer's typically whimsical musical world. Delicate piano and fluttering drums join the crashing waves of a Dorset beach before swerving off into a Hawaiian inflected, end of the pier jaunt. As the album moves up river towards the centrepiece recreation of an inebriated afternoon at an English country fair courtesy of “Before The March / Strawberries and Steam”, throughout, the upbeat often manic compositions belie a thread of melancholia that comes more to the fore on the antique Dulcitone led tracks, “Dreams of Donnybrook” and "Around Twilight". Typically though the album's climactic title track swaggers back, bright eyed with quixotic optimism.
At turns chaotic and yet somber, hopeful and resigned, ”Two Years Today”represents the very best moments from almost a decade of work from a truly iconic UK underground musician.
1. Somewhen By The Sea / Balance The Balloon
2. Sirens In August / My Shaggy Parasol / When The Sun Sets Over The Yard Arm
3. Before The March / Strawberries And Steam
4. They Came Alive
5. Some Eve With An Apple
6. Dreams Of Donnybrook
7. Two Years Today
8. Around Twilight
9. Pork And Honey (CD version only)
Album cover: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1915632/TS05.jpg
Press photo: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1915632/Pressphoto2.png
Available and distributed through Darla (USA), Cargo (UK), Japan edition released and distributed by Yacca / P*Dis (Japan/Asia).
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"Sju år har redan hunnit fly sedan multiinstrumentalisten Nick Palmer öppnade sin Directorsound-speldosa sist. Hans snara återkomst på den svenskdrivna - men Paris-baserade - entusiastetiketten Tona Serenad både känns, låter och ser ut som en lika vacker som bortglömd hawaiisk stumfilm."
*** Andres Lokko, SvD, 10 September 2010
"Il y a des artistes un peu, comme ça, qui défient mystérieusement jusqu’à la grosse armure encyclopédique de notre bon goût. Entre les moments les plus empruntés de Sakamoto et la brillance de Krzysztof Komeda, les instrumentaux hyper bucoliques et trop photogéniques de Nicholas Palmer ont beaucoup pour rebuter (le dégueulasse syndrome yanntiersen©). Mais parce qu’ils touchent à une corde si sensible de l’entendement – cette nostalgie diffuse, brute et résignée qui coule dans les b.o. des films de Tati ou Ozu et dans les moments les plus passionnels de Morricone – ils deviennent curieusement addictifs. Le mignon Yuichiro Fujimoto et les gars de Geographic (Stephen Pastel & co.) ne s’y sont pas trompés en faisant des pieds et des mains à ce Britannique chétif et maladif pour lui extirper des suites à ses premiers enregistrement 4-pistes. Envisagé par l’intéressé comme sa première grande oeuvre, "Two Years Today", qui sort sur l'excellent, excellent label suédois Tona Serenad, rassemble neuf évocations romantiques et pleureuses de son Dorset natal et donc autant de raisons de faire fuir les hipsters. On vous laisse choisir votre camp."
*** Olivier Lamm, Chronic'art, September 2010
"Having emerged back in 2003 with his Domino/Geographic-released debut Redemptive Strikes, Directorsound's Nicholas Palmer returns via the Tona Serenad label, prepping a new album (Two Years Today) from which this splendid three-track single is lifted. 'Before The March' is a sweetly romantic instrumental that finds Palmer assuming the multiple roles of a marching band (albeit in a waltzing 3/4 time signature), entangling accordion tones, clarinet, tuned percussion and stomping rhythms to fine and fanciful effect. 'Dreams Of Donnybrook' is a more intimate, lulling affair that beautifully plots out the gentlest of melodies via guitar, piano and Dulcitone, while 'Pork And Honey' preserves this warm and wistful tone for a heartrending combination of woodwind and floating piano keys. Lovely stuff."
"Tempos shift from breakneck to near-stillness, and compositional passages change so rapidly they're akin to channel surfing. “They Came Alive” lands us in a Viennese bar when a wonky tango is performed using accordion, piano, and—shades of The Third Man—zither. An occasionally lovely episode surfaces, such as the romantic waltz that lends “Sirens in August / My Shaggy Parasol / When the Sun Sets Over the Yard Arm” a sweet side. The album's occasional rambunction is nicely tempered by the pretty lullabies “Dreams of Donnybrook” and “Around Twilight” whose antique melodies could send even the crankiest infant off to slumberland, while the piano-driven title track alternates between light-hearted breeziness and delicate wistfulness. Two Years Today's eclectic breadth suggests one could group Palmer's Directorsound with kindred spirits Minotaur Shock (David Edwards) and DoF (Brian Hulick), who are also multi-instrumentalists of unbounded imagination that recognize few if any stylistic boundaries."
"Palmer favours movements over conventional pop lengths, kicking off his record with some overlapping sketches that twang with an analogue euphoria. Drums brush like spring tides on “Somewhere by the Sea,” where a broken piano gets rendered cute by guitars that turn it into a Chaplin soundtrack. This then ebbs into “Balance the Balloon”‘s jazz and its carefree battered old harpsichord, completing the piece with a sprinkling of everything from banjo to washboard to theremins. These stylistic overlaps with Musette’s goofiness are plain for all to see, but the Directorsound approach is a little more rounded, fleshed out with numerous French jazz films and scored so beautifully they’re beyond parody. This is music that a tramp might like to whistle, but tramps from a happier era, back when you used to cook them a meal provided they helped dig your garden."
*** Coke Machine Glow