Published Mar 08, 2017There isn't a single sound on Simon Fisher Turner's extraordinary Giraffe that doesn't trigger either a crisp mental image or a chill down your spine. It is a sophisticated, thoroughly engaging listen.
Turner is in the prime of an impressive career. A successful actor, he first tried his hand at more conventional pop and punk music. By the mid-1980s, he'd turned to soundtrack work. Derek Jarman was an early collaborator. He also scored a film called Nadja, produced by David Lynch.
That's impressive company for any composer, but Giraffe makes it clear just how lucky Jarman and Lynch were to work with Turner. Subtitled "living in sounds and music," these 14 tracks wed the mechanical with the melancholic. Field recordings collected over an eight-year period beginning in 2008 occupy centre-stage throughout the work, yet it remains intensely musical from start to finish. Given the varied, often abrasive catalogue of sounds Turner has incorporated, it's remarkable how listenable the result is.
"Hope Swims" is a favourite; gentle and evocative, it showcases Turner's ability to say a very great deal with subtlety and restraint. "Colour Fullness" is equally sparse, with an achingly beautiful string performance by the Elysian Quartet.
This is one of the best releases of the year so far. (Editions Mego)