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James Johnston - The Starless Room


  • Dostępność: Jest
  • Producent: Clouds Hill
  • Cena brutto: 54,00 zł
  • (Cena netto: 43,90 zł)
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The Starless Room is the debut solo album by Gallon Drunk mainman and PJ Harvey cohort James Johnston.

The Starless Room - The results are a revelation, and not just for James Johnston. Vast in its scope, visceral, intimate and instinctive - " I just followed whatever triggered an emotional response in me".

The Starless Room represents a remarkable distillation of both his lyrical obsessions and prodigious, arguably under-acknowledged talent. Suitably, it's the title track that encapsulates the romantic sweep of the record best, with its star at his most intense and Sebastian Hoffman's string arrangements at their most ambitious. For James Johnston, however, the greatest pleasure of all is a simple one: the songs' slow tempos, "Something I adore, like a lot of the Isaac Hayes or Ray Charles albums that I love. It almost feels like I'm listening to someone else's record." But it's not. It's James Johnston's debut solo album, The Starless Room. Like he said, it feels just right.

James Johnston - As well as playing with Gallon Drunk, James Johnston has spent considerable time working with others: A mid 90s spell as a touring guitarist in The Bad Seeds led to a full role in Nick Cave's band between 2003 and 2008, and he's performed regularly with other iconic acts, including Lydia Lunch, Faust, and, currently, PJ Harvey, on whose The Hope Six Demolition Project Johnston appears. But if it sounds like he's softened on this album, he argues powerfully otherwise. "The band's records have quite an earthy feel, but in a way this is rawer, more focused and direct, musically and emotionally. The last Gallon Drunk record's my favourite, and it was certain elements of that which I really wanted to take further, to strip away the dissonance and anger, to reject the more familiar sounds in order to free it all up again. So the instrumentation is very different, led by piano and voice, and the overall sound is lush yet intimate. Overall it's far more reflective of me, both as a person and the sort of music I actually listen to."

" It felt right, and when that happens, you just go with it," says James Johnston of his decision, well into a third decade as frontman of Gallon Drunk, to record The Starless Room, his unexpectedly sumptuous, long-awaited, debut solo album. Over eight albums, Gallon Drunk have carved out a reputation as a savage live act whose work has increasingly revealed a bold sophistication, growing from the psychotic fury of 1991's You, The Night… And The Music up to 2014's epic The Soul Of The Hour. A solo album by their co-founder, though? That had somehow never come to pass. Especially one this lavish.

"It wasn't something I'd really considered before," Johnston admits, and even now he appears a little startled by the turn events have taken. "But that's where the writing was going. I've always poured all my ideas into Gallon Drunk, but we'd done two great records in fairly quick succession, and I really didn't want to repeat myself, so I was writing in a different way, one that didn't feel like it would work as Gallon Drunk. The moment the decision was made to go ahead with a solo album it freed a lot of things up for me, letting it go somewhere different without any constraints or expectations."

The Starless Room is distinguished by its grandeur and romance as much as its refreshing musical approach.

As well as playing with Gallon Drunk, Johnston has spent considerable time working with others: a mid 90s spell as a touring guitarist in The Bad Seeds led to a full role in Nick Cave's band between 2003 and 2008, and he's performed regularly with other iconic acts, including Lydia Lunch, Faust, and, currently, PJ Harvey, on whose The Hope Six Demolition Project Johnston appears.

Given the licentious nature of much of his previous work, that this newly mature, refined sound is indicative of Johnston's character may be unforeseen. His influences, however - "Big Star's Third, John Cale's 70s albums, Lee Hazlewood, Nina Simone, that sort of thing" - remain much as they were, if arguably employed with a new, more thoughtful perspective. Furthermore, his considered approach is indicative of a man with a musical education, both formal and informal.

Suitably, it's the title track that encapsulates the romantic sweep of the record best, with its star at his most intense and Sebastian Hoffman's string arrangements at their most ambitious. For Johnston, however, the greatest pleasure of all is a simple one: the songs' slow tempos, "something I adore, like a lot of the Isaac Hayes or Ray Charles albums that I love. It almost feels like I'm listening to someone else's record." But it's not. It's James Johnston's debut solo album, The Starless Room. Like he said, it feels just right.

TRACK LISTING

1. I'd Give You Anything
2. St. Martha's
3. Starless Room
4. Cold Morning Light
5. Dark Water
6. Frozen Time
7. Heart And Soul
8. The Light Of Love
9. Let It Fall
10. When The Wolf Calls