Ethereal, classical, artful, indefinable;
a masterpiece of unclassifiable music.
Propeller by Grice.
I did a foolish thing; I asked in some local muso groups on Facebook, if there were any artists who would like me to play their tunes on my radio show. I was specifically looking for bands in Devon, and even more so in North Devon, where the station is focused. I usually play a fifty -fifty split between local and non local bands, and I was a bit short on the local side of things.
Anyway; guess what happened? Yep you got it in one. Loads of people clamoured to get me to check out their band sites. Well obviously, every band with original material wants radio play; even on a local station. Of the responses I have found at least two excellent bands, although maybe not the most radio friendly ones I could have hoped for they will definitely get an airing.
The first one I am writing about is Grice. Grice is not a band so much as a person. In the studio, he is a one man band. He is credited with the following on his Facebook page.
“Lead Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Bass guitar,
Tzouras, Kora, EBow, Virtual VincenzoTM (digital harpsichord)
Percussion, Electronic Percussion, Guitar synth, Sequencing
Programming, Piano & Keyboard treatments, Drum loops/Samples
String arrangements Sax & Horn arrangements & Digital editing “
Although there is also a fairly long list of other musicians, one wonders what they were required to do. Hold Grice’s other instruments while he wasn’t playing them, perhaps?
Whatever went into creating this album it was emphatically worth the effort. The whole is a beautiful piece of music that defies description, so thank goodness for embedded music.
This album consists of 13 tracks, totaling a little under an hour. Some are short; the shortest is 214 Squadron at 35 seconds which is sort of reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Get Your Filthy Hands Of My Desert”
The longest track is “Propeller” at just under ten minutes, with a coda and a reprise each around a minute and a half. Propeller is track 6 but I notice the Bandcamp page is set to start streaming the album at this track, so presumably it is the one they most want you to hear first.
I am hearing so many little things that remind me of other bands or songs, but nothing at all that lets me nail this music down to a genre. Elvis Costello’s “Ship-building” comes to mind, as does Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine” and “Your Time Is Gonna Come” flirtations with Floydiness; bits of Beatleisms; gypsy folk, classical music, art rock, electronica, sixties psychedelia; blended like a secret blend of herbs and spices, or the ingredients to a patent elixir.
There isn’t much to tap your toes to here. If you want a dance then you will need to clasp one hand gently and place your other on the waist. This is late night music, it is “the party’s over but the sleepover hasn’t started yet” music. It is theme music for a wonderful film with fabulous cinematography, or music to sit in an auditorium and allow to envelop you, perhaps with the added dimension of a laser show?
Dare I say it? It is the kind of music where people tell you, you need to be on drugs to appreciate it fully. Well I have never listened to Pink Floyd under the influence of drugs, and I love them.
In truth, what you need to do is give it time to grow. Some music is easy, accessible, instant gratification. e.g. “All right, guys, uh, listen. This is a blues riff in “B”, watch me for the changes, and try and keep up, okay?” (Marty McFly) Other music takes a little time, because it does not have a back beat, and a hook that you will still be whistling tomorrow morning. But when you let it grow on you; let it creep up and encompass you; little by little; like a rambling rose; then one day you look and it is all in bloom on a long hot summer’s day, and you realise it was all worth it.
Hungersleep is the label set up by Grice to release his own material. Based in Exeter other artists include Martyrs and Swanston, both former projects of Grice. The label also apparently has connections to Phonic FM 106.8