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You’re listening to the fruits of a long friendship, a collaboration between two very different musical talents and a collection of beautiful, eerie songs.
The underground aesthetic promotes passion and integrity over craftsmanship and musical chops. Calamateur vs. Steve Lawson offers no such dilemma. The playing is immaculate, the production gorgeous and the arrangements are achingly close to perfection. These are Calamateur songs though, which means they’re loaded with yearning, loss, ascetic sensuality and a commitment to revealing personal and universal truths. And tunes, it’s more packed with tunes than a Topic is with hazelnuts.
'Calamateur vs. Steve Lawson' finds Calamateur (Andrew Howie, reclusive solo artist and sage) in a rare collaboration with another musician, the much demanded session musician, tour sideman and solo bass player, Steve Lawson.
Despite their studio polish, and the understated musical chops on display, the nine songs that have emerged from the Howie-Lawson collaboration are emotionally raw and spiritually bereft. There’s far more pain and sense of loss and inadequacy on this album than on, say, 'The Old Fox of ’45', or the 'Son of Everyone' double EP. At times deeply unsettling, and often painfully confessional (even the instrumental tracks) the overwhelming sense is of beauty in a stark place; a desolate Antarctic wilderness of songs.
'How Long' throbs along gently in the stratosphere thanks to the helium filled falsetto and thin silver strands of guitar, looped through a barrage of effects.
The UK's most celebrated and prolific solo bassist - alternating between solo and collaborative releases - have a rummage around and see what you find. The subscription is by FAR the best way to keep track of the many musical goings on!