Blurring Into Motion
(2019 - Bad Elephant Music - UK)
Mr. Cawood surprises and satisfies us with a sophomore solo, much different than his debut 'The Divine Abstract' (2017). While the same flowing, beautifully crafted and melodious bars of composition frame 'Blurring Into Motion' (a title taken from a quote by Russell Hoban, about the blurring together of the moments and thoughts that make up life), this time he presents 12 songs of a more personal nature. Charlie Cawood has made no secret of his struggle with manic depression, in which he describes as the most intense of periods, during the 13 months he wrote the music to this recording. Even though he took another year to orchestrate it, compared to his first where he spent 7 years to put together, this second release was a miraculously short project (at least for Cawood).
With a blend of early folk, still a thread of minimalist, a slight Mike Oldfield flavor at times, a touch of jazz and larger dose of classical, the sound soothes and searches, as a soul looking for it's own Eden. By the 3rd song, Cawood brings in female vocalist Marjana Semkina (from the Russian band iamthemorning ) with fast success. As the tunes move, one can hear the various influences Cawood studied in India, China, and Bali, especially with the tender vibraphone, swaying violins, breezy flutes, elegant guitars, and delicate harp. With 17 musicians featured: Marjana Semkina – vocals on ‘Falling Into Blue’ and ‘Flicker Out Of Being’/ Alice Barron – violin/ Georgia Hannant – violin/ Maddie Cutter – cello/ Robyn Hemmings – double bass/ Julie Groves – flute, piccolo/ Emily Suzanne Shapiro – clarinet/ Ben Marshall – cor anglais/ Thomas Stone – contrabassoon/ Lucy Brown – French horn/ Nathaniel Dye – trombone/ Maria Moraru – piano, celeste/ Elen Evans – harp/ Beibei Wang – vibraphone/ Catherine Ring – glockenspiel/ Evan Carson – bodhran, percussion/ Steve Holmes – minimoog, bass synth/ and of course Charlie Cawood – acoustic, electric and classical guitars, acoustic bass, bass IV. The album is produced by Charlie Cawood and Amir Shoat, and engineered and mixed by Amir Shoat. The physical CD package is beautiful with full color art that is also printed onto the disc, with booklet featuring details, in a gatefold digipak.
The recording is adorned with a lyrical orchestra, forming a charm and ostentation of affective resonance. The sphere Cawood created is far more positive and joyful than depressed. In fact, the mood elicits a sparkling hopefulness. Perhaps it is this outcome that keeps the flame burning bright in Charlie's inner self. A multitude of colors lift the radiant minutes, with only a somewhat opaque melancholy, that is still always parented with a profound loveliness. On track 10, Semkina again performs a beautiful vocal part, keeping the gentle mood fluent.
Parts of this even remind of Anthony Phillips, with the ever revolving heavenly melodies, spatial orchestration, shades and shadows, and picturesque atmosphere Cawood has rallied here. A generous helping of bliss for the masses. An exercise in commanding the demons to dance to his own music, this multi-instrumentalist and diligent artist, continues to define a path of self-actualization. 'Blurring Into Motion' is food for thought, and a therapy for not just Charlie, but for everyone. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR THE WORLD.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 11 - 8 - 2019