Exposé Online banner

John Greaves — Life Size
(Manticore, 2018, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-03-09

Life Size Cover artWith Life Size, John Greaves gives us a set of songs that are pretty far removed from the avant-garde tendencies of some of his past work, though they’re hardly mainstream or without interest. Between the crooning vocal delivery, the deliberately artistic intent, and the atmospheric production, I’m reminded of Scott Walker’s Tilt, though Life Size is much more accessible. It should come as no surprise that comparisons to Peter Blegvad’s work come to mind, along with occasional hints of the classic Kew Rhone that Greaves did with Blegvad and Lisa Herman back in 1977. To follow up one some of these thoughts… The “artistic intent” is on full display when you look at the sources of the lyrics. In addition to Greaves himself, Blegvad, Lisa Herman, and Robert Wyatt, we see such names as James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Paul Verlaine, and Guillaume Apollinaire, and being the semi-literate person I am, I had to look up a couple of those. Two tracks are new versions of songs familiar to me: “God Song” by Robert Wyatt and Phil Miller, and Blegvad’s “How Beautiful You Are.” One of the highlights is a track called “Kew Rhône Is Real,” with lyrics by Lisa Herman and music by Greaves, which revisits its namesake in style and oblique imagery. A couple of songs are in French and one in Italian. Greaves is joined by Annie Barbazza, Himiko Paganotti, and Valérie Gabailon harmony or duet vocals on about half the tracks. For the most part, the mood is on the mellow side, encouraging close listening rather than dancing, and the arrangements feature small ensembles of strings and winds with keyboards and very little guitar. This is tasty stuff, unabashedly drawing on the traditions of European culture — how often do you hear music backing a recitation from Joyce’s Ulysses?

Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Jakko Jakszyk, Zeena Parkins, John Greaves, Sophia Domancich

More info
http://www.manticorerecords.com/life-size

Latest news

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

World's End Girlfriend - Seven Idiots – Occupying a distinct netherworld where the realms of electronic music, avant garde, post-rock, and modern classical music intersect, World's End Girlfriend (the nom de musique of Katsuhiko Maeda) has...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues