One Thousand Birds
(2019 - Hungersleep Records - UK)
With this 3rd full length release from Wimbledon born Grice Peters, the atmosphere is sacred, equally mournful and celebrative, dreamy and most of all, replete with grace. Fruitful with swaying moods, songs glide softly from one to another. The title track 'One Thousand Birds' enters with a David Sylvian all instrumental clarity and symmetry. An interesting fact is the thunderstorm was recorded by Richard Barbieri, from a part of an old Rain Tree Crow studio session. The rest of the various field recordings were done by Grice. Track 2 ('Hardest to Reach'), which was the first song released from the album, features his wife Maria Peters doing spoken word in Greek, after Grice sings a delicate and soulful set of lyrics. His voice has the same captivating appeal as Colin Blunstone or Tim Bowness (No Man/solo). Maria's soft sensual voice is pure heaven on this. Every composition has an equivalent high quality that surely ranks this recording as Grice's best yet. Among the songs, you may hear comparative sounds like The Blue Nile, Tim Bowness, and 3 Blind Mice, however more stylings are present as you will see in my review.
The album title that was a stimulus from the death of Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese woman who was the victim of radiation from the bombs dropped on Hiroshima. As an attempt to save herself, she folded paper birds, as a Japanese legend speaks of a Crane living for 1,000 years, and if you fold 1,000 paper birds, they will protect you from illness and grant you a wish. The album cover is an image of the '1,000 Birds' installation created by artist Helen Morse Palmer.
A gathering of incredible musicians to make all the music as great as it is, includes : Music & lyrics by GRICE. Produced and arranged by GRICE. Instrumentation: GRICE: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, keyboards, string arrangements, Ebow, sound design, programming/ Richard Barbieri: programming, synths on ‘One Thousand Birds’ / Andrew Fred Ehresmann: piano, Hammond organ, keyboards/ Al Swainger: bass, double bass, French horn/ Marco Maggiore: drums/ Luca Calabrese: trumpet/ Duncan Chave: sampling and bird warping/ Greek lyrics written & spoken by Maria Peters on ‘Hardest to Reach’/ Strings: Eliza Carew: Cello/ Steve Bingham: violin/ Brenda Stewart: viola/ Additional contributions: Steve Jansen: percussion 'La Foresta Assente'/ 05Ric: drums 'La Foresta Assente'/ J M Peters: synth ‘Hardest to Reach’ & flute 'La Foresta Assente'/ Dave Costello: original bass loop concept ‘Hardest to Reach’/ Lee Fletcher: treatments 'La Foresta Assente'/ and Jack Lawrence: autoharp 'Letterbomb'.
Having such cream of the crop players allows for the varied feelings and color of these tunes. For example, using Steve Jansen (Japan/solo) on percussion for 'La Foresta Assente' (track 9) is pivotal, and stands out as an exotic instrumental, not far from Jon Hassell, in a most fertile way. The album has the consummate amount of shifting from spirit to archetype, instrumental to vocal based, mingling of styles, and tremendous emotional scent. There is a timely charm about the project, and the music is thick with both regret and comfort, each often overflowing the framework that the song has been created inside. 13 exceptionally crafted and arranged compositions, with a touch of orchestration, make up just under 74 minutes of addictive music. This euphonic paragon from Mr. Peters cannot, must not, go unheard by all. A gorgeous 6 panel digipak with 8 page booklet comes as the physical release. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 4 - 16 - 2019