A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Friday, 18 July 2008

'I Trawl The Megahertz' by Paddy McAloon

I have been listening to this album quite a lot lately. It really is one of the most beautiful and emotionally-affecting albums I have heard.

The story behind how and why the album was created is obviously central to its impact.
In the early 1990s McAloon was left nearly blinded after eye surgery. This led him to listen more to radio talk show programmes and change the way he worked as a musician/writer.

The end result was 'I Trawl The Megahertz', a beautiful orchestral, largely instrumental, late-night, melancholy piece of music. It is easy to view the album as a meditation on loss, isolation, solitude and the therapeutic qualities of music.

The title track is the album's centrepiece (although it actually opens the album) and features a female voice (actress Yvonne Connors) reading a collection of lines written by McAloon alongside statements that he heard on late night radio phone-in programmes. When these are combined and set to the lush, orchestral backdrop it results in an absorbing, powerful listen. You can find the full lyrics through a search engine but below are some of my favourites:

"Hers is the wingspan of the quotidian angel"

"I am tying a shoelace, or finding the pavement fascinating while the comet thrills the sky"

"I am jangling along to some song of the moment, suffering it's sweetness, luxuriating in it's feeble approximation of starlight"

"In the chamber of my heart sits an accountant. He is frowning and waving red paper at me"

"In the subterranean world of anaesthetics sad white canoes are forever sailing downstream in the early hours of the morning"

Certain musical motifs and themes appear throughout the album which allow it to sit comfortably as a piece of work.

Highly recommended.

(It actually got me thinking - it certainly would make my top 10 favourite albums and may even sneak into the top 5 possibly. More of that to follow soon.....)

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