Wednesday, 8 October 2008

GREG HEADLEY - 24-Carat Abnormalities

In its quiet progression, the practically invisible career of Greg Headley has established a recognizable, almost familiar pattern of thorough approval in my own taste. I detect plentiful doses of sincerity in what this man does, the music sounding like the fruit of a private improvement rather than a showing off of mundane things brought out only to be able to say “here’s the new record”. This latest CDR release was to some extent influenced by a series of trips to Eastern Europe that the composer embarked on in 2007 and, above all, by “several changes, big and small” which affected his life one way or another. The basic substance was produced without too much of a previous thought - according to a logic that Headley describes as “create first, analyze later” - and with the usual means: guitar and a computer running software instruments (there are also piano and organ sounds in the album, yet it seems that everything was axe-piloted).

The uncomplicated structure of the large part of this work is exactly its winning feature: a two-note, three-note sketch of melodic material is taken, examined, reutilized and decomposed, a timbral defacement happening meanwhile, sometimes down to near-collapse, elsewhere with just a modicum of interference. Pulse and repetition are not irrelevant to the context, yet we’re pretty distant from proper minimalism - and don’t think about Fennesz, either. Picture instead someone observing an object from every possible position, in order to decide what is the better light for it to disclose a supposedly indiscernible, concealed beauty. This, too, seems to be the secret behind Headley’s artistic principles, which we should mull over excluding superficiality.

28 Angles