If Thousands — I Have Nothing
(Silber043, 2005, CD)
by Mac Beaulieu, Published 2006-05-01
This ambient duo has now produced six discs since their unusual entry into the ambient music world when this classically trained vocalist/guitarist and punk bassist dropped their known instruments to create music on instruments they didn't know how to play. Give me instruments I don't know how to play (which means any instrument not made by Hasbro) and the result could at best be charitably described as excruciating, usable as a weapon of mass destruction. I'm sure they've come a long way since that initial concept, learning rudimentary grasps of the many instruments they use and using familiar ones as well, because I Have Nothing is nothing if not musical. They've also taken a couple of other unusual approaches as well, using all relatively short track lengths and recording the entire disc of improvisations in two days. Considering the fully achieved creation of atmosphere, the latter is a striking achievement. There's plenty of variation from track to track, some stark and foreboding, some lush and inviting, and some in between. This variation emphasizes the short song aspect of the disc, yet there's a continuity at play that brings it all together. Part of this continuity is due to the use of standard instruments like guitars, bass, banjo, accordion, horns, and cello for everything from lead voice to drones. Electronic equipment is used as well, but the acoustic instruments seem to dominate and heighten the sense of individuality while serving to engage the less driftably inclined listener.
Related artist(s): If Thousands
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more