The Inaccessible Cardinal
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Nat Baldwin - "Within Walls"

Among other things, music is a physical object extended in space and time. A song's coordinates can be roughly plotted on a Cartesian graph with rhythm (time) on the x axis and pitch (space) on the y. In fact, we do just that all the time and call the result "staff". As far as I know, Nat Baldwin doesn't use staff paper (at least he didn't when I saw him play last week), but his facility in the manipulation of both the spacial and temporal aspects of music suggests that he either uses a musical staff (wrought of what? ebony?) that imparts to him god-like powers of emotional evocation, or a competent musical staff of advisors, wonks and mandarins.

Space: Most bands pack everything into the middle. Guitars, keyboards, voices: all take up the centre of the sound space. Baldwin fills the low-end with his bowed bass and the bass drum-and-tom-heavy percussion. He fills the high-end with his soaring, monastic vocals. The middle is left open - a calm, empty space. In this space we experience "Within Walls" as a conundrum: do we revel in the sublime above, or do we respond to the earthen pressures below? Do we think or do we dance, because...

Time: The drummer gives us a lesson in the implications of 4/4 time, treating us to an exponential unfolding of rhythms, of frames, of approaches. Look! A rock beat works. Here's something dirtier! Triplets have a wonderful effect! Why are you dancing around like that? Like a wild living room beast? Is it because of my bass drum on the one, three, and three-and?

When space and time come together in the form of something like a chorus at 2:36, Baldwin sings some words about the space we fill and the time we have to fill it. Write home about this: it's something to write home about. [Info]


Richard Buckner - "The Tether and the Tie"

"The Tether and the Tie" is a taut thriller. The repetitiveness of the crisp acoustic guitar pattern, the modest vocals, the panning Rhodes and distorted guitar accents - all give the impression that something big is going to happen at any moment, something to relieve the quiet tension. Nothing does. It's not the summer anymore. This is an autumn jam, and perhaps the young season's finest. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at September 27, 2006 2:19 PM

Is that magic black triangle new, or did I just fail to notice it for the last year or so? I like it very much.

Posted by Sam at September 27, 2006 9:22 PM


Does anyone else think Nat Baldwin's song has something of a David Byrne compositional touch to it? The rock-and-arguably-disco-like rhythm, the layering of melody upon melody, the deliberateness and the illusion of effortlessness in the intonation of the singer?

A great song, I like it.

Posted by Sam at September 27, 2006 9:26 PM

Seen the latest orange phone advert? ...uses nat baldwin's track 'only in my dreams'

I think he has been greatly influenced by Dave Longstreth in his compositions since playing in dirty projectors

and spencer kingman... who influences everyone who hears him

Posted by Jane at September 28, 2006 8:23 PM

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