Rick Biddulph — Second Nature
(Voiceprint VP178, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1997-02-01
If his name is a mite familiar, perhaps it should be. Biddulph is a multi-instrumentalist who had been a roadie and sound engineer for several Canterbury bands (Hatfield among them) before joining the French band Anaïd as their bassist/guitarist in the mid-80s. Since then, he has turned up playing with Richard Sinclair's Caravan of Dreams, and most recently as a member of Mirage (the ex-Camel / ex-Caravan collective that released a live album and toured a couple years ago.
Second Nature is Rick's first solo album, primarily an instrumental outing where he plays guitars, bass, guitar synth, keyboards, balalaika, and sings on two tracks. He's joined by numerous guests, on saxes, flute, clarinet, midi-drums, piano, additional keyboards, and so on. The music herein tends to be a bit more on the relaxed side, quite atmospheric, perhaps in the vein of Pete Bardens' eighties work (Seen One Earth, etc.); with a strong thematic essence, it's almost as if the music here could be a film soundtrack of some type. Of the two vocal pieces, the first ("Lizard on a Rock") fits into the program well, and features some nice etherealities by Suzanne Bramson; the second ("Loose Ends") is a loungy soft-blues number with harmonies by Barbara Gaskin. Several tunes bear a more dark and mysterious feel, yet all the tracks are punctuated by excellent solos and spirited playing. A few numbers have a more pronounced jazz influence, most notably "The Hillman Effect," where Pierre-Marie Bonafos (ex-Anaïd) adds some impressive sax work. The closer, "Out of Harm's Way," ties the whole album up nicely. In all, there's much here to warm up to, it's a release that grows with each listen; remarkable for its simplicity, yet stunning in its ability to convey emotion.
Related artist(s): Rick Biddulph
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more