Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review: Dave Willey and Friends - Immeasurable Currents (AltrOck, 2011)

 Stranger in a strange land 
There are those albums that upon listening to I feel I’ve stumbled into a different dimension, a foreign land. This doesn't imply estrangement; on the contrary, I feel at ease, and am curious to investigate this new and uncharted place. Immeasurable Currents is such an album; one that despite its slightly weird and odd sounds, is inviting with its magic and charm, and while appearing at first listen as cold and somewhat off-putting, is a glimpse into a warm and comforting place.

This album is (or was) facing a problem. Given that this is a Dave Willey’s album and that luminaries such as Hugh Hopper, Elaine di Falco, Deborah Perry and Mike Johnson play on it, expectations of some people were to hear an album of complex or otherworldly sounding avant-rock (or the so-called RIO). Well, if those are your expectations, either abandon those at the door or go look for another album of that ilk. This beautiful album is a rather calm and relaxed collection of 12 songs, composed by, as the title suggests, Dave Willey and friends. You will hear resemblances to these fine musician’s other work in Hamster Theatre, Thinking Plague et al. but those are hints, much like one tastes hints of fruit while tasting wine.
Indeed, like a good wine, this album takes time to “open” and bloom, revealing its flavours slowly and gradually, requiring recurring tastings. It is a mostly minimalist and restrained album, but one that holds in its “guts” great strength and powerful emotions. As much as it is different from what you usually hear from this bunch of musicians, it is as remarkable and potent in its emotional impact. What it “lacks” in its musical complexity compared to Hamster Theatre and Thinking Plague, it more than makes up for in beauty, elegance and charm.

The intimacy of the music matches very well how personal the lyrics are, giving the songs that timid ambiance and tenderness that doesn’t overshadow the lyrics. The person responsible for the lyrics is Dale Willey, Dave’s father, now deceased. These poems were taken from the book “The Tin Box Papers and Other Poems”.
The music suits the lyrics very well, whether its simplistic and beautiful, slightly erratic and faster, or eerie and melancholic (enhanced by the wonderful vocals of Elaine di Falco and Deborah Perry).

If subtlety and otherworldliness are attributes you’d like to experience in music, intimacy and calmness, beauty and eeriness, immerse yourself in the currents of the 12 songs by Dave Willey and his friends.

Listen on SoundCloud

Buy the album through AltrOck
Download from Amazon and CD Baby.


  1. So happy to see you around again! I was a bit worried about you, even though I have had my share of worries in the past month or so. Great review BTW - one of my top albums for 2011!

  2. Actually, I'm no "back yet", just had to post this already as the draft was sitting for some months in my Reviews folder. I'm "not out of the woods yet" and won't be for the coming months.
    Thanks for the nice words, Raff!


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