|Saurus (2002) 6 tunes for the musical saw|
|The best track on
Kev Hoppers last release, the fine Whispering Foils, was
Sean OHagans sun-drenched tune Lamalou les Bains.
Over sultry vibes, marimbas and acoustic guitar, Hoppers musical saw
whistled out the melody, slipping the listener directly into exotica heaven.
Taking his cue from there, Hopper has penned half a dozen highly melodic
pieces that place the saw centre stage. He has completely reclaimed this
strange instrument, unfailingly ethereal and poignant, from its dodgy
association as a folk club or music hall novelty, and repositioned it as
a thoroughly modern melodic voice a dreamboat with teeth. His technique
is surprisingly sure, his confidence has increased since the last album,
and the tricky leaps of the tunes are negotiated with accurate flair.
Barely reaching 24 minutes, this mini-album is an exercise in understatement. All the tracks are instrumental except for Youre a Delicacy which Hopper sings as an odd amalgam of Brian Wilson and folk singer, Shirley Collins. Elsewhere the saws accompaniment is enriched by silky vocals from Minnows Kelsey Michael and Rhodri Marsden, who also recorded everything. The Fairy Lawn, at eight minutes more than double the length of anything else on the CD, stretches out into Stereolab territory, much helped by Michaels singing. Hopper has a delicate touch but its unlikely anyone drifts off to sleep during any music by the ex-bass player of Stump. His guitar, laptop and drum playing have enough edge to prevent this becoming a total lounge blissout. More interesting than that, its a highly personal, intriguing statement from an artist whose next move should be carefully watched.'
Clive Bell, Wire Magazine
|Rhodri Marsden||Sean O'Hagan||Kelsey Michael|