Posts Tagged ‘Ed Dowie’

Ed’s first album came out in 2017 on Lost Map Records. His music has regularly appeared on BBC6 Music and BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, which included The Uncle Sold in their Top 12 albums of 2017. His 2nd album, “The Obvious I” is out now on Needle Mythology. 

It has been four years since Ed Dowie’s debut album ‘The Uncle Sold’. I liked that very much and although maybe his new album is a little less experimental, I like it every bit as much. With arrangements very much designed to lift Ed’s strong voice to the fore, it plays like a synth pop album for those of us who never liked synth pop albums. It is all here, sampled instruments, blips and blurbs, programmed drums and more. But done with restraint and a sense for the rather straightforward songs on the album. In 2017, Ed released his feted debut album ‘The Uncle Sold’, prompting The Quietus to hail him as a “bold and starry-eyed visionary” and The Skinny to praise his “beautiful… stolen snapshots of glimpsed futures and lost pasts.” and BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction made the record one of their albums of the year. Now, four years on, Ed is to return with an album that will surely find him new followers alongside long time fans such as Lauren Laverne, who described its predecessor as an “absolutely extraordinary” achievement.

And while there are many layered sounds here, they never unnecessarily take over the soundstage, allowing for much space between instruments, sometimes even creating a cavernous yet simultaneously clear sound for the vocals to inhabit.

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So whereas there are clear homages to the sounds of the 80s here, and the 8-bit cover art had me worried, Dowie has delivered a powerful album of gentle pop that really shines.

‘The Obvious I’, the second album from Ed Dowie, is the second new master release from Needle Mythology, the label founded by music writer, author and broadcaster Pete Paphides. “The Obvious I” was co produced by pioneering British experimental musician and sometime member of Polar Bear “Leafcutter John” Burton “John’s become something of a hero of mine over the years. Way back when he was in Polar Bear, I approached him after a couple of gigs, and he’d remembered me from those days. And really, his presence on the record was invaluable. He lent me equipment and gave me advice, then when I finished recording, I sent him the stems and he mixed the album.”

Released March 26th, 2021

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Ed Dowie learned the piano and the organ as a child from his father, before becoming a chorister and an organist in Dorset. His music career began in earnest in 1998 when his Bournemouth-based psychedelic-dub-pop band Brothers in Sound – stablemates of the legendary Beta Band on cult Parlophone subsidiary Regal Recordings  released three EPs and the album Family Is For Sharing, all of which were met with considerable critical acclaim. After Brothers in Sound’s untimely demise, Ed spent several years studying experimental music in Leicester, Montreal and York, before moving to London in 2008 and joining puppetry/animation/film company The Paper Cinema as a composer for various theatre, short films and art projects. He has played at venues including the Tate Britain, the Barbican and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as further afield at festivals in France, Denmark, Portugal, Spain and Azerbaijan.

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Ed’s debut album The Uncle Sold takes its title from the 1995 Kazuo Ishiguro novel The Unconsoled, a unique and inspirational book that takes the reader on a continually evolving, dream-like journey around a non-specified city. Recorded in London at studio spaces in Dalston and Haringey, it’s a sometimes wistful, sometimes sad, sometimes uplifting and at all times surprising listen that paints a picture of a range of characters struggling for certainty in a metropolis beset by continually changing forces, be they political, personal or financial.

Openers ‘Verbarhemiopia’ and ‘Red or Grey’ are gently prismatic wonders each, variously encompassing dreamy multi-layered voices, firework field recordings, static hiss, twirling fairground ride melodies and a playful, vaguely Gallic sounding accordion solo. A slowly crashing wave of heavy-hearted electronica with ethereal yet understated vocals summoning the spirit of Robert Wyatt and Arthur Russell, ‘Yungpawel’ is a song about “a couple of very good friends of mine who sort of represent an ideal of how it’s possible to be,” says Ed, “inspiring, intelligent, active, self-aware, conscious, caring”. Set to a field recording of pouring rain, ‘Bastard Harbour’ is a hauntingly melancholic piano meditation on ageing and death. Climactic closer ‘Richard’, a drowsy collage of needling guitars and sparkling synths with hints of Spiritualized and Super Furry Animals, brings a note of acceptance to the album’s final phase as the song’s titular drifter finally comes home.

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