"The genus of Bunnymen keyboardist Paul Fleming, and seemingly written on the road (given titles such as 26 Hour Drive and To Chicago), Trains Planes and Digital Delays is a very surprising record, surprising in its sense of peace and lucidity (given the madness of a Bunnymen tour)."
Baltic Fleet – Planes Trains and Digital Delays.
Scrapbook records. http://www.balticfleet.com/
The genus of Bunnymen keyboardist Paul Fleming, and seemingly written on the road (given titles such as 26 Hour Drive and To Chicago), Trains Planes and Digital Delays is a very surprising record, surprising in its sense of peace and lucidity (given the madness of a Bunnymen tour). Reflective detached pieces are the order of the day here, the opener Pebble Shore is a beautiful piano coda that prepares the listener for the ambient jazzy introspection of 26 Hour Drive. Debts to Sowiesoso era Cluster are noticeable as are nods to Neu! in Baltic Lounge. I wonder if Fleming has heard the remix LP of Rodelius's Lunz? Just a thought...
Not that this is a pastiche, far from it. All the tracks mentioned radiate a weighty sense of calm and purpose. Fleming is not scared to use silence and cleverly uses a slow tempo to build up suspense, as seen on the beautiful To Chicago, which floats on a recurring, seemingly never ending organ motif. 2 Minute Sunset is a very short but incredibly broody that very cleverly employs minimal guitar licks played off a piano chord. 3 Dollar Dress gives the LP a bit of pace with its Suicide-y beats and brooding guitar, forever stuck in 3rd gear...
Baltic Lounge, as mentioned before, is a great Neu! rip off, the drumming here replicates Klaus Dinger's Neanderthal beats to a tee. Baltic Interlude is just that, but a great, sonorous clatter of an interlude that leads us effectively into the most accomplished track on the LP, 8mm Deep. The track utilises a fellow Bunnyman; guitarist Will Sergeant's spindly, menacing guitar is shot through the track to great effect. The arrangement of 8mm Deep deserves comment also; with its spooky piano run resembling one of Mahler's KinderLieder and a judicious use of theremin-style synth (Mr Fleming, you will have to tell us the instrument used I'm afraid), a very beautiful piece of music is created. Particularly moving is the change of tempo just before the fade-out.
Green Field Landing's piano cycle is minimalist in the extreme and reminiscent of Harold Budd's more ambient works. Double Door is another interlude, a menacing sample set over a monolithic bass line. Cocaine is a caustic comment on the human and economic damage caused by the World's Most Idiotic and Overrated Stimulant (my copyright), again using a sample voice over minimalist synths. Castellon Theme is more up-tempo; a lovely reflective piano riff played off against some pattering drums. The feel is very much akin Eno's work with Harmonia. Finally we have Baltic Outro a soft meditational piece which utilises snippets of other Baltic Fleet tracks.
I have to say that I enjoyed listening to that album very much indeed. Highly recommended stuff.
Words: Richard Foster.