English guitarist and singer Richard Dawson debuted quite unremarkably with
Kevin Coyne with an atonal acoustic guitar
Sings Songs and Plays Guitar (Downbeat, 2007), a collection of
simple songs (the standout being perhaps the
rather conventional romantic serenade I Will Make It Up To You which
is almost reminiscent of Kenny Rogers).
He then composed
Motherland (Pink Triangle, 2008), the soundtrack to a theatrical
play, that attempts a broader spectrum of styles, even including a
dance-club pulsation in Gravel Flame to accompany a shamanic invocation.
Dawson stretched the duration of his songs on
The Magic Bridge (Pink Triangle, 2011), but the duration is pretty
much the only thing that stands out. The likes of
Man Has Been Struck Down By Hands Unseen require a lot of patience.
The concept The Glass Trunk (2013) was inspired by the historical
archive of a museum. The main change in Dawson's music consisted in drafting
a number of collaborators, ranging from vocalists to harp players.
That experience somehow caused a dramatic shift in style.
The two juggernauts of
Nothing Important (Weird World, 2014) are sandwiched between the
gloriously cubistic blues lament Judas Iscariot, definitely worthy of
Captain Beefheart, and
the Zen-like instrumental Doubting Thomas, both titled after the Gospels.
Past the tedious and self-indulgent 16-minute litany of Nothing Important
(which, at best, offers,
midway, a brief guitar solo that is actually melodic and folkish a` la Leo Kottke, and then
another delightful guitar solo 12'30" into the song), one reaches the real
highlight, the 16-minute The Vile Stuff in which
rabid guitar riffs and voodoo beat prop up a king of melismatic singing that
was more typical of the Canterbury school's prog-rock than of folk troubadours,
and whose finale's mind-bending cacophony could be the starting point for
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