Friday, July 16, 2010

Grey Park

Grey Park
Planned Confusion 10 CD
I’ve probably spent more time with this than is natural. But such is the quest for impartiality and truth and honest-to-goodness down home plain talking that it has taken me a month to come up with what it was exactly that was bugging me about this release.
Because I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Grey Park, I reviewed some of their earlier cassettes [ten years or more ago] and was impressed by their showing on a comp called Halogen Ball. Their sound was pliable, open to lots of influences, one minute coming all over Scandinavian Column One, the next a scrapyard field recording session with busted banjo strings and tin can bongos. They don’t release that much either and when they do its usually short run cassettes or three inch CDR with bizarre packaging [one item coming in an inside out coffee bag] - there is therefore a certain amount of genuine excitement when their releases arrive here at Idwal Towers.
So imagine my surprise when faced with a cross between John Michel Jarre, Cluster with knobs on and early Kraftwerkian shortwave plunder. For their first ‘proper’ CD outing Grey Park has manifested itself into a pastiche of 70’s keyboard ambience and I’m not sure if I like it one bit. On paper it should work, the production is great: ray gun blasts panning your speakers, shortwave swizzle, huge throbbing helicopter landing pulses, the odd vocal and musical sample thrown in but still ... and yet. With the recent upsurge in interest in bands like Emeralds who are so obviously wearing their 70’s synth influences on, not just their sleeves but lapels, gussets and lining too, you’d think that this would be a shoe-in for instant success but these three tracks leave me feeling oddly cold. I’ve scratched my head for long enough. Its time to put Grey Park away and see which direction they take next.
planned.confusion [at]

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