Friday, September 08, 2006

Top Ten....ever! #10 - Pink Moon

As previously mentioned, I am something of a listophile. Top tens in particular are a great conversation starter, and always a source of controversy and interest. Being a music blog, I therefore decided to post my all time top ten albums of all a serial format!
So here is number 10.

Never before has the sound of one man and a guitar been so intoxicating, or hauntingly beautiful. In 1972, Nick Drake was a disillusioned man. After releasing 2 records to critical acclaim, he had failed to achieve any sort of commercial success, All the while his Fairport Convention friends had achieved quite considerable success, only fuelling his diappointment and angst. So, over two midnight recording sessions in early 1972, in the space of 8 hours, he put it all to vinyl.

Only one overdub exists over 11 tracks; a couple of tinkling piano keys on opener 'Pink Moon'. With the exception of those few notes, 'Pink Moon' the entire record is Drake and his guitar in stunning, technicolour close-up. Even his breathing is in tune. Over gently plucked guitar strains, his tenor voice singing songs of alienation ('Know') and loneliness ('Which Will'), Drake unwittingly created an entire mythology following his death in 1974 from a sleeping pill overdose.
After finishing recording, he simply dropped off the master tapes with a secretary at the record company and walked off. But this indifference is't apparent when listening to the music. Other than the sparse arrangements, and the lack of excess instrumentation, the music is astonishingly complex, Drake using his trademark unique tunings to fashion songs that are simultaneously beautiful in their simplicity and appealing in their depth.
The record closes on a rare note of optimism with 'From the Morning', a touching tale of the beauty of sa simple life. Odd, then, that the lyric from it; 'And now we rise, for we are everywhere' adorns the tombstone of this most talented musician, who provided us with something truly beautiful before he departed all too early.


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