...you can pay attention and examine the miniscule joins and progressions in these songs or you can allow the whole thing to flow around you like some beautiful mist.
(Fat Cat) http://www.konkurrent.nl
Vashti Bunyan LP beautiful? You don’t say. This really is some record mind, and all the more good and fab for just building on the pattern set by 2005’s Lookaftering. From the opening track this record has that fabulous ‘Bunyanesque’ trick of calming everything down and imposing a new sense of time on proceedings. In this she really is a match for Nick Drake; creating the sense that we’re describing a mental landscape, or a worldview that has its roots in another time; one that can be traced to before The Fall.
In some ways Bunyan’s stories are both supremely relevant and irrelevant; like the greatest art able to be totally misinterpreted, mutated or revered. Whatever Heartleap’s really about is another red herring. I would guess it’s about things that are incredibly important and over in blink of an eye; and in that, the ‘importance’ that ultimately underpins this record can be safely left aside. So you can pay attention and examine the miniscule joins and progressions in these songs or you can allow the whole thing to flow around you like some beautiful mist. Here, and Mother are beautiful cases in point; the songs’ tales being slowly drawn out, like threads being slowly unraveled and examined in miniscule detail; but still able to throw out a massive comfort blanket which the listener can lose themselves in. And the last track Heartleap seems to sum the whole record up with its winsome turns of phrase and beautiful descending melody, which in turn is gently bourn aloft by some beautiful, gentle guitar picking and quiet piano phrases.
So it’s a beautiful record. The ending coda of Jellyfish is ridiculously attractive as is the lattice-like melody that encases Shell. But saying Vashti Bunyan records are beautiful is beside the point really; it’s like saying wellies keep your feet dry in a muddy field. It’s not the pinpoint accuracy of the melodies, the way they patiently pick a path through explaining a set of wider truths. It’s not the way that this record seems (on repeated listen) to be a pre-ordained message from another planet or time. It’s not Bunyan’s breathy, soothing delivery (which somehow has opened up into a more powerful and assured, more resonant voice here, or am I hearing things?) It’s not the way the melody line picks you up and bears you off; everything Bunyan has ever done has this knack. It’s about the fact that Bunyan can tap into something else that is nigh on indescribable and inside all of us. Explaining this sort of stuff is supremely difficult to write about, unless you are going to splurge your emotions over the page in a show of sympathetic feeling. Bunyan’s new record is the radiant acclamation of the simple, overwhelming brilliance of being alive.
Vashti Bunyan, should be on national curriculums or piped into houses across the lands. Cameron, Jonker, Putin, Obama, you fucktards. Sort it.