Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fourth Page - Blind Horizons [Leo]

Fourth Page:
Charlie Beresford - vocals, acoustic guitar, khaen
Carolyn Hume - piano
Peter Marsh - bass
Peter May - percussion

Leo Records 2011

It's difficult to find a band of such unique sound and vision as Fourth Page and that alone makes this cd worthy of a recommendation.What makes this music so unusual is the negation of apparent contraddiction between the terms of song and improvisation. And yet Fourth Page creates exactly that - improvised (even if it doesn't sound so) songs.

The music, from the first track of the album "Summon to me" is etheric and full of space. Delicate percussive shadings, fragile, delicate piano notes that last long reverberate in an emptiness like a spilled liquid that stays and forms itself on glass surface . Echo and silence. Only halfway trough (around 5 minutes into the piece) appears the voice, hushed, semi recitative, dark, often stressing particular letters, adding musical quality to the words. Like the spatted phrase "StuTTers and SpiTs" in the "Blind Horizons" - the second track of the album. 

Every track starts with just a couple of notes, a repetitive piano or bass phrase, yet the acute sense of structure they display is awe inspiring and it allows the group to create extended, progressive and stretched song forms starting with just a chord or a repeated note as the basis. 
Fourth Page's music is minimal yet adventerous and open minded. The playing is captivating yet completely ego-less. Paul May deserves a lot of credit for his melodic playing and he brings and unusual bag of sounds and selects them carefully - tiny bells, metal sticks, metallic tinges, melodic clicks, bowed and stratched plates. Carolyn Hume's playing is enchanting - spare and delicate chords that resonate in the silence, a brilliant sense of harmony, subtle, fragile,  feminine. Paul Marsh intuitively frames the right mood and the momentum of the piece, sometimes he creates a strong melodic basis with just a few notes of repetitive pattern ("Times Like These"), sometimes raises the dramaturgy wih a powerfull stroke of the strings ("Cut Deep") or enhances the noir mood with a long bowed notes ("Summon to me"). Charlie Beresford guitar is played spare with clear resonating notes immersed in the piece's structure and mood. Although he's way of singing/reciting seems often emotionless it conveys the mood perfectly and his poetic sense of timing and melody is brilliant.

This music is cold, hushed, pensieve, silent, rainy, distant and uttely sad yet it's also absolutely gripping (could be an improvised example of sadcore if we want to put labels on it). It draws you in. Slowly, steadily, making it hardly noticeable till you're completely immersed in their surreal world, surprised to hear the music has ended and time has already passed by. 
Dark like a starless night, beautifully poetic, delicate, haunting, seductive. Compellingly unique and not to be missed.

* a couple of tracks from music are available in the playlist from 06.02.2012

a fragment from the album:

and a piece from another concert that gives a good idea of what Fourth Page's idea of group improvisation is about:


  1. Hi. Peter from Fourth Page here. Thanks so much for the review...very lovely! Just a couple of things - the album is called Blind Horizons, and my name's Peter, not Paul (Don't worry, it's a common mistake!) But thanks again!

  2. Thanks for reading. Even more thanks for the music. And sorry for the mistakes. Corrected.


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