Friday, 9 May 2014

Martin Bisi

Martin Bisi is an artist I thought I knew very little about though, it would seem from the research i have done I am very familiar with some of his work. Having remixed tracks for Swans, contributed to releases by Angels Of Light, Sonic Youth and The Body Lovers and his close association with New York bass god and producer extraordinaire Bill Laswell all of whom are firm favorites here it would seem that Mr Bisi has been a part, albeit an unknown one, of my listening for quite some time!

I normally view solicitation for inclusion of music to this blog with very jaded eyes however I was recently contacted by a very pleasant chap called Thomas Lebioda (A musician and producer in his own right) who is releasing Martin Bisi's new album "Ex-Nihilo" his first album in 7 years,exclusively in Europe through Thomas's Sheffield based label Labelship with a view to me including it on here I was initially skeptical due to the fact that though I had heard the name I had believed myself unfamiliar with Martin Bisi's work.

So I had not had a chance to do much blogging recently nor to have a proper listen to the "Ex-Nihilo" album however I have been giving it a listen last couple of days when time has permitted and I have to say I have been very pleasantly surprised. The first thing that struck me about this album was the use of choral vocals throughout, whilst this did actually put me off to start with Bisi has woven them into his songs almost as part of the instrumentation using them to great effect to raise his music to great heights and to add atmosphere with a very decent sense of dynamics. Instrumental opener "Nihil Holy" whilst clocking in at 4 mins feels more like an intro or doorway to the album with it's foreboding pounding drums,strumming, random horns and the mentioned choral vocals. Whilst it has no real tight structure as such it's certainly a compelling I would say almost "Industrial" intro bringing to mind the likes of Laibach and Coil. However second track and what I would consider the first proper song on the album "Sin-Love-Hate" is a great almost laid back number it has a feel of some of the more sedate moments on more recent albums by Sonic Youth however Bisi's use of multiple instrumentation,piano and crowd & choral vocals gives the song depth and builds it to a point that when the horns kick in near the end it's at once dense and busy but still retains the groove of the song.Next Track "Mermaid Song" is a great number and this is where i feel those choral vocals really hit the mark the track begins gently and beautifully enough but it builds and peaks without becoming too much and brings to mind some of the work of something like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds but that is just in the general feel of the song as i can't stress enough that whilst this album is most definitely coming from a post-punk perspective Martin Bisi has created something that whilst having familiar overtones is completely original and has a sound that is very definitely all his own.

This album has been a very surprising and refreshing listen I can honestly say even with my vast musical tastes I have heard nothing really like this before this album is as sedate and uplifting as it is bombastic and in places almost frightening with some of the more intense musical parts, for example the peaks of the track "Invite To Heaven And Hell" are intensely layered and discordant but at the same time those choral vocals, used the way Bisi has keep things "in check" but at the same time during the albums nosier parts can be quite intimidating albeit in an absolutely genius way, and the track "Fine Line" builds to a peak that would not be out of place on something by the more recent work of the recently reinvigorated Swans (anyone who knows me knows that is HIGH praise) and Bisi's vocals range from the quiet to loud to almost troubador-esque in places keeping things interesting.

I don't normally do "teasers" for albums but after a little negotiation Thomas and Martin have agreed I can have 2 tracks for you guys to check out which i think is more than fair considering that it's almost 1/3 of the album and also the obvious amount of work that has gone into the creation and promoting of this album. So below you will find a link for a file containing 2 tracks from the album "Sin-Love-Hate" and "The Mermaid Queen", if you like these tracks I cannot recommend that you either buy the album on vinyl or digitally as whilst these two tracks are both great and both will give you a feel of what to expect from  the album I will say that they only begin to reveal the rewards on offer throughout the full album. My initial skepticism when Thomas first contacted me has been utterly shredded this is an album that commands your attention throughout and has something for everyone, at least, that is everyone with an open mind and a taste for the original. Whilst the amount of different instrumentation and the unusual elements weaved into this music could be challenging I find that the more i listen to it it's more compelling than challenging and that this will definitely be getting some heavy rotation round here.

Before I post the link I'd like to thank Thomas for contacting me and drawing my attention to this album because i know for a fact i would never have heard it or checked it out otherwise, I'd also like to thank Martin for his permission to give my readers a taste of his album. Something as good and original as this does NOT come along often and I cannot urge you enough to have a listen to this sampler because I guarantee you that you will most definitely be desperate for more! Outstanding stuff!

Ex-Nihilo Sampler - Mediafire

You can buy the album on vinyl or digitally and check out some of the labels other releases from Labelship here.....

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