Anyone up for some harpsichord disco? One of the reasons I started writing about music in the first place was to challenge myself to do something new, to listen to music outside of my usual indie-rock-electro bubble, and albums like Vessel’s ‘Queen Of Golden Dogs’ fit that tag perfectly, as it’s far removed from my usual listening habits, it may as well be music made on Mars! What drew me to this album though, was the fact that each song is dedicated to someone the main producer in this collective has either lost, or someone who has had a great impact on his life, and so this collection of musical pieces has been composed as a tribute. I’d go for ‘composed’, as each one sounds more like a classical movement crossed with electro as opposed to straightforward ’songs’. Using what can only be described as medieval instruments such as harpsichord, strings, possibly lutes (wish I’d paid more attention in G.C.S.E. Music all those years ago!) and mixing them with modern day synths, beats and computer generated sounds, Vessel conjure up their own unique soundscape for each piece. It’s not destined for the dance floors, it’s not trying to give you a good time, it’s just an album of reflective electronica. The closest comparison would be the electronic film scores of John Carpenter, sped up, and with classical music interludes – this kind of stuff is crying out to soundtrack something. ‘Fantasma (For Jasmine)’ start off with sweeping violins as if playing in the background of a silent black and white vintage film, before more electronic sounds storm in and wild drumming takes over, then ‘Argo (For Maggie)’ has more far eastern rhythms mixed with synths. ‘Glory Glory (For Tippi)’ has pounding kettle drums, synth sounds whizzing in and out, sounding like it could form the backbone of an action sequence car chase – it’s fast paced and slightly bonkers, whereas ‘Sand Tar Man Star (For Auriella)’ has eerie electronica sounding quite discordant, before giving way to a soaring choir and more relaxed tones. Each musical piece on this album resembles an art noise soundscape, combining some of the most ethereal sounds around. Sometimes some of the most unusual music creeps up on you unexpectedly, and although not my usual choice of music to stick on at home, it makes a great soundtrack for viewing the city at night on the bus or train home. You won’t hear another album like this one, probably ever (unless you pick some deep cuts from Handel or Mozart), but that’s the beauty of it. Intriguingly different.

Vessel: Queen Of Golden Dogs – Out November 23rd 2018: Tri-Angle Records

From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.