John Metcalfe: The Appearance of Colour (Real World, 2015)

January 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

John Metcalfe: The Appearance of Colour

John Metcalfe: The Appearance of Colour

Composer and viola player John Metcalfe was in The Durutti Column in the ’80s, and since then he’s been a renowned orchestral arranger for artists such as Morrissey, Blur, Peter Gabriel, and many others. This album appears on Gabriel’s Real World label, and it’s a collision of modern classical and electronic music, with skittering drum’n’bass beats, acoustic double bass, and light operatic vocals. The album’s first track “Sun” is a 20-minute suite, and the closing title track is 16 minutes, so he’s clearly going for epic statements here. The songs in the middle are around 2-6 minutes, and “Sycamore” is probably the best song to start with (and it has the heaviest drum’n’bass influence on the album). “Just Let Go” features vocalist Natasha Khan and dips into trip-hop/Purity Ring territory, but in a smoothed out acoustic/orchestral way. Some of the other shorter tracks are more purely acoustic/orchestral, while “Gold, Green” veers a little closer to smooth jazz territory, but it’s not that bad. A pretty unconventional album, it seems quite high-brow but it still embraces modern styles and it’s worth checking out.


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