This is a debut 4 track weissenborn orientated soundscape EP from Scottish musician Neil Warden. The EP was written, recorded and arranged as a result of Neil being invalided with a broken leg. Frustrated and bored he decided one day to learn the lap steel as it seemed a practical way to learn a new instrument while convalescing. The journey was swift and fruitful and soon became a focused project that ultimately became "Adventures In Weissenborn Land". Neil happens to be one half of a professional music production company called ‘Deep Blue Music Productions’ who specialise in film and TV musical arrangements and and as you can imagine the sonic attributes and slick arrangements here are of a very high standard indeed. The whole process is seamless, professional and not surprisingly totally excellent. Heavily influenced by the legendary soundtrack "Paris Texas" Neil has delved deep into the delta blues soundscape box for his first foray into weissenborn and pulled out some choice cuts. Sparse one line melodies punctuate lush and vivid landscapes, the mood and atmosphere thick with desolate imagery of Harry Dean Stanton walking barren desert canyons.
Track 1 “Mojave” is a classic slide/harmonica ensemble that sets the “Paris Texas"mood perfectly. The delicious and playful harmonica playing of Gary Martin Is a well suited and a balanced accompaniment to Neil's measured and stoic sliding passages giving the track excellent contrast and interest, all this set to a pulsating rhythm section and gypsy style classical guitar that builds and builds then…. finishes much to ones annoyance as the track was only in it’s infancy in my opinion and this particular genre suited and all out massive 12 minute opus. Next time hey Neil? a super track all the same and a great start to the EP. Track 2 'Bad Dog' contains the only vocal contribution (from Gary Martin) of the 4 tracks and has a great old school ‘Bad to the bone’ blues vibe to it. Harmonica abound and Neil showing us some great one line melodic licks that really invigorate and drive the rhythm and flow of the song along very nicely. This track doesn’t quite sit comfortably with the other three but is stand alone a great track. Track 3 ‘Enchanted' starts with a very "Paris Texas" style sparse intro from Neil on his Weissenborn accompanied by graceful synth pad drones. The track then pleasantly does a U-turn and morphs into a brooding cinematic scene that wouldn't be out of place from the film Gladiator courtesy of some beautiful Spanish style guitar, violins prayer like chanting coupled together with a simply stunning musical arrangement from Neil's creative partner Stuart Mitchell. Once again the track is flawlessly arranged and i could quite simply listen to it for an hour straight but alas it’s only 4 mins long ;-( Track 4 'The Alchemist' has a pronounced Middle Eastern sensibility underpinned once again by Neil's simple but elegant single note passages. Lush drone keys, cellos, low flute and Arabic style chants add to the eastern promise and frame a perfect picture in your mids eye of some far away desert with Bedouin tents and flags fluttering in the wind like a scene from “Lawrence Of Arabia”.
A magnificent debut Weissenborn release that wets our appetite for more Weissenborn centred sophisticated soundscape creations in the future. Never underestimate the power of single line melodies because when done as well as this the results are dramatic and striking. Neil has a real ear for creating wonderful haunting soundscapes and i hope next time around he really indulges himself and creates a full blown opera length creation that with out words could tell a fantastic story only limited by your own imagination. The most relaxing weissenborn music i have ever heard, i just wish there a little more weissenborn and a lot more indulgence as the man has the talent to create a true master piece of epic proportions if he really commits to it, I for one hope i see that day as this taster is quite simply stunning.
Neil Warden - "Adventures In Weissenborn Land"
Review By Aron Radford
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