After extremely well received albums by Ben Frost in 2009 and Sam Amidon in 2010, Bedroom Community present their big new hope for 2011.
Bedroom Community broadens the scope with their newest release: En Garde by Puzzle Muteson, a mysterious, intimate record by a fearless songwriter and lyricist from the windswept Isle of Wight.
Arranged and produced by collaborators and labelmates Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson, En Garde is a strange, comforting and alarmingly personal record. Driven, spare lyrics are hoisted high by vocals of steady, sturdy tremble. Each tune swells with plush guitar pluck in a sea of orchestration and electronics. Recorded in the Greenhouse Studios in Iceland, the album collects Puzzle Muteson’s odd and beautiful stories - about love and horses; rust and polar bears; heartbreak and birds.
Puzzle’s songs are curious sounds from a troubled heart and his lyrics are urgent and open, striking a note with their vulnerable memories. “I Was Once A Horse” is an unforgettable song about nostalgia. The first single and title track, “En Garde”, pits Puzzle’s longing against waves of dense strings and jagged rhythm, while “Perspex Disguise” sets his naked, translucent vocals against shimmering piano that refracts off epic chords. In “Flamingo Head” he sings; “I left your house. You let me. I left you ugly”, buffeted by guitar and distant murmurs. “Not a single thing could take this magical sight. I’ll find you still”, he sings in “Medusa”, the story of a man tracking down a lost love.
Like many Bedroom Community recordings, En Garde takes an unexpected and unique voice and elevates it out of any easily discernible pocket. Puzzle Muteson could be “folk” or something completely different - instead he’s an intense stranger from the Isle of Wight - at once both familiar and unfamiliar. En Garde heralds a haunting and essential new voice, beautiful, earned and yearning.
Puzzle Muteson is the alter ego of an enigmatic songwriter from the Isle of Wight, rendering his music in a tremulous tenor over a finely spun web of fingerpicked guitar. Born in London, Isle of Dogs, the southern English island provided unexpected shelter for the shuddering transformation into one-man band Puzzle Muteson. His grade-school music teacher was first to recognise his unrivalled vibrato, and a little while later a parade of chance and coincidence led him to inhabit Puzzle Muteson, and start shaping a body of songs. Puzzle has since toured Ireland and the U.K., opening up for the likes of The Fruit Bats, Death Vessel and Sub Pop darling Daniel Martin Moore.
After obsessively listening to Puzzle Muteson’s own raw tapes, producer- arranger duo Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly nurtured the songs that now inhabit his debut recording En Garde, released via Valgeir’s Bedroom Community label. The record shimmers with the signature value of Puzzle’s collaborators who have previously worked with the likes of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Antony (& the Johnsons), Sam Amidon and many others.
1. I was once a horse
2. A tightrope dance
3. Water rising
4. En garde
7. Alphabet eyes
9. Perspex disguise
10. Flamingo head
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