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- Ballads Of The Research Department by The Boats
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The Boats are a bit of an office favourite here at the towers most likely due to the Hood connection. That's right, The Boats feature the talents of Craig Tattersall (ex-Hood, The Remote Viewer, and owner of the Cotton Goods label) as well as Andrew Hargreaves of the Tape Loop Orchestra. I've personally not paid them a huge amount of attention as my span is short and their music demands patience. On 'Ballads Of The Research Department' they take a slightly scientific slant to the appropriation of the ballad as a songwriting form, stripping it of it's traditions and rebuilding those concepts as they see fit. For example, the majority of the album consists of instrumental as opposed to lyrical ballads, leaving acres of room for emotional reinterpretation. Even when adopting vocals they choose the talents of Japanese vocalist Cuushe, who's melodies suggest all manner of emotional response without you necessarily being able to understand what she's saying. Tattersell and Hargreaves understanding and appreciation of real instrumentation, traditional tape based recording techniques and actual performance is what sets these pieces apart from the work of their contemporaries and makes for a much warmer, inviting record. Skeletal electronics, minimalist beats and healthy dose of acoustic instruments (piano, strings etc) may sound like a tried and tested method but their hands, it sounds fresh as the day. An obsession with the later works of Talk Talk seems as significant to these lads as it does the rest of the post Hood projects doing the rounds nowadays. Excellent stuff. Well worth your time and money.
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