We hear a lot about DIY recordings these days. Much is made of artists locked away in the home studio laying down the constituent parts of the track from their multi-instrumental repertoire on the cheap. There is a current fad for semi-improvised approaches to things, perhaps to show just how creative and free-wheeling an artist is. These are all worthy ways to approach music but sadly, considering how freeing such techniques should be, the result is generally a limp and lifeless acoustic set from a would-be darling of the indie-folk scene, a poor man’s take on the last be-hatted, skinny-jeaned troubadour that passed this way. Grassroots music is starting to become a cliche of itself.
Thankfully Heyme employs all such techniques but manages to use them to full effect, take them to unique, (il)logical conclusions and make something strange, beguiling and wonderful. The core of the songs are basic loop tracks that provide a platform for the layers of improvised moods and melodies, riffs and rhythms that are then built up on top of them. What really sets this great collection apart from the pack is its blend of nonchalant, throbbing blues and its strange, jazz-infused trumpet top lines. This is an album that drifts more often than it drives, that moves at its own pace and arrives at a musical conclusions in a very off-beat fashion.
There are deft instrumentals such as Noisz’s hypnotic beat and brass blends, Waitsian bar room, piano reflections on All Time Favourite, Klara’s alternative pop meanderings and some wonderful avant-gardening with his reworking of Kiss My Jazz number Burn In Hell.
Noise From The Attic is as strange as it is alluring, it will pass by all those who it has already decided are not the target audience and land fully, and strangely, formed in the lap of its intended targets. This isn’t music which seeks validation from its listeners or that makes compromises to attain broader appeal.
This is music that you either get or you don’t. It’s strange charms are reminiscent of such bands as the aforementioned Kiss My Jazz and IH8 Camera, which after all are part of its musical family tree; it will appeal to those looking for the new, the different, the non-conformist. That may be an ever shrinking set of broad-minded music fans and holders of discerning tastes but thankfully not everyone feels the need to play to the gallery.