David Borden — Places, Times & People
(Cuneiform Rune 58, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01It's so easy to hang labels on things, but in the end the true value of a piece of music is a fairly subjective thing — except maybe for those consumed with dissecting every detail ad nauseum. I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to electronic music, it always seemed to me like an easy way out to push a lot of buttons and program sequencers, and then go take a twenty minute coffee break while your next album records itself. Basically all one needed was good ideas and technical skill — real chops not required — but in the end the results often seemed lifeless and left me cold. Of late, though, I'm finding more of this music I can warm up to — maybe it's that much of this music is now more interesting, or maybe it's just me growing into it. Case in point. I first heard of David Borden in the mid-70s when a friend played me a record by his all-synth group Mother Mallard. Initially unimpressed, I was in no hurry to listen to his stuff when he 'came back' in the early 80s. Places, Times & People is my first exposure to Borden in nearly two decades, and it's clear I've missed a lot of growth. Despite being primarily produced with electronics and samples, this is far more energized and fluid, offering a variety of moods and styles, bridging the cold dark corners of this angular world through corridors of light and color. Tracks like "For Bob Haskins," "Enfield in Summer," and "Esty Point" are rich with emotion, depth and subtlety, painting warm flashes of gentle color over shimmering electronic soundscapes. Others, like "Droneland" and "Her Inner Lock" take more of a contemporary approach, a bit more distant and surreal. In all, this is certainly one worth checking out.
Related artist(s): David Borden
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