Monday, January 11, 2010

Larry Ludwick - The Sea Bird's Story

Hear The Track Here

I seem to have spent a fair bit of time lately speaking about Larry Ludwick and his continuing contribution to The Dead Company, which definitely coloured my view of him over the past year. My initial impression of him was of a semi-jazz musician, which morphed into a singer/songwriter with offshoots into electronica and anything else he could lay his hands on. What has made his work pay off with The Dead Company is his dedication to getting the feel, flow and syntax of the poetry to marry correctly with the music. It has earned him (and TDC) a few Must Haves and, I submit m'lud, along the way colouring his own work too. The evidence. should I have to provide any, is in The Sea Bird's Story which is as much a tone poem as it is a song and a definite upping of the Ludwick game.

Gosh, so exciting!

I freely admit it's taken me some time to become comfortable with the overall sound Larry comes up with, which is a very unique signature but not - I suspect - to everyone's taste. The first negative would be that it sounds a bit 'demo-ish' and there I think I'd almost agree with you. It's actually got more to do with the way Larry sings/speaks, and that's what makes his voice so recognisable. Take, for example, what's actually happening musically on this track. A piano, a person, and some well chosen electronic lines that just underline the mood. The whole thing is simplicity itself but very, very effective; a common hallmark of Larry's work. Considering that the track is virtually carried on the piano's wide shoulders, you would expect it to retain your interest and it does, which is not something easily arranged. Then you start to notice other things: the sharpness and clarity of the electronic sounds; the way the vocal is doubled in parts and effected to beejeesus on one side of the stereo.

Mind you, you'd have to be a bat-eared geek like me to spot that stuff because it is set perfectly in the mix to blend in with everything seamlessly. Yet another hallmark of this musicians work. In terms of the aforementioned work, this track is almost as good as Charon: A Crossing (June 2009), one of his best tracks of last year OUTSIDE of the Dead Company material. It's quite a bleak, dark track (again something that often informs Larry Ludwick tracks) but not quite so nervy as TDC, and for that I am thankful. Surprisingly enough, after playing and playing this track I got to really like it's simple, direct freshness and definitely chalk one up for Larry on the songwriting front because this is a beauty, if a little on the sombre side.

Highly Recommended dark Alternative.

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