Scene and Heard- CCCXX: Diamond Bullet – Pekkanini (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

21558777_10156694968844546_219451804973479229_nPekkanini is a man who seems to cover a lot of bases, musically speaking, from scores for theatre productions to electronic music and from full band live shows to solo albums. And sat at the heart of it is his beloved Theremin. I have written thousands of music reviews in my life but I don’t ever remember writing about someone devoted to this odd and slightly controversial instrument.

Diamond Bullet is a blending of many of the key sounds and influences that lie at the heart of Pekkanini’s music. It at once feels like a score to a Bond movie, a chilled out instrumental piece, futuristic-retro dance music and a strange collaborative musical-film narrative in its own right. It is piano infused and keyboard driven and the Theremin adds that strange alien allure which made it the go to instrument for 60’s sci-fi music in the first place. Diamond Bullet is strange, beguiling, past, present, future, film-noir and science fiction sound all in one take. I’m not even sure how you do that.

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Pale Honey – Pale Honey (Bolero Recordings) reviewed by Dave Franklin

11042996_648082878629459_938344376605833747_nThe White Stripes’ stripped down regard for the traditional band format may have lead the way for a wave of imitators but it also opened the doors to some real innovators. Many artists have taken this line of attack through some hipster bandwagoning but for Pale Honey it is the perfect way to present their music. The sparseness of such a delivery means that when they are going for the musical jugular their beats and riffs land uncluttered, uncompromising and unashamedly brutal on the listener, but the same minimalism can also produce some really enchanting moments, gentle refrains that often sit like eyes in a perfect musical storm.

It is this mix of intensity and delicacy that has people bandying around PJ Harvey references but their mercurial music has more in common with bands such as Cat Bear Tree or Flowerpot, the generation who grew up in the shadow of the riot grrrls and have appropriated their angst and creativity and moved the ideas on, a mixture of roaring fire and cool waters, raging storms and blue skies that somehow sits together perfectly.

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