Martin Duffy has always been thought of in relation to other bands. From Felt in 1985 through to Primal Scream today, he was always a part of someone else's sum.
Throughout all that time, he worked on ideas of his own but had never played anything to anyone. He joined Tim Burgess's solo band for a tour in 2012 not long after Tim had started his own label, O Genesis. Somewhere near motorway services on the M4, close to Reading they drove past an abandoned car on the hard shoulder that was on fire. It was seen as a very oblique sign that O Genesis should release the first solo material by Martin Duffy
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- Assorted Promenades by Martin Duffy
Martin Duffy is the sort of musician who's been indirectly famous for a really long time, helping get summer jams made for indie poppers Felt and later filling in on keys for Primal Scream. 'Assorted Promenades', as a result, is somewhat unexpected, bringing together a plethora of classical-influenced compositions based around piano sketches and a host of little toy instruments. It recalls Hauschka in the experimental department, along with any other artist for whom being a pianist just ain't enough.
There's a lot of beauty in this approach, taking conventional piano-playing and stretching it out 'til it's ambient, but Duffy is also interested in fucking things up: on both "Newmoania" and "Section II" he takes pretty enough soundscapes and turns them into gruesome noise wastelands where anything goes. Duffy isn't all too interested in sustaining structure on 'Assorted Promenades', and will disregard a suite in seconds for another. It doesn't quite come together in the sequencing department -- it sounds as if Duffy is throwing off every compositional idea he's had in the last three decades spent lurking in the shadows -- but that's why he's called it 'Assorted Promenades'. It's something of a neo-classical lucky dip: find one of Duffy's beautiful tracks at your own pace.
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