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Don Bradshaw-Leather - Distance Between Us  CD (album) cover


Don Bradshaw-Leather



3.69 | 18 ratings

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4 stars Spaces between us

This album means a lot to me. I remember buying it in Valetta airport Malta, when I was about 18 years old. I didn't know the first thing about the music, but just like now, I was extremely intrigued in all things out of the mundane - the weird n eccentric, bad taste, kitsch and bizarre. I saw the front cover of this overtly Caucasian dude painted in black looking back at me, and I was instantly hooked. I bought it straight away, and couldn't wait to get on the flight - to know just how this freakishly looking man would sound like.

The flight turned out like a sonic adventure akin to the likes you'd encounter in an Indiana Jones from outa space meets Haight Ashbury type deal. I was blown away by the music, to which I could find absolutely no heads or tails of. It still struck me as incredibly powerful and entrancing - hypnotic and pulling like a huge frightening vortex.

There has been written a lot of things about the great Don, the most famous obviously being that he in fact is The Enid mastermind Robert John Godfrey. To tell you the truth - Don was actually a lad from Essex born in 1948 - later on classically trained musician............................. Still, when you take a quick look at that cover art, it's quite striking how much the two of them look alike. Hell, Don's phenomenal piano techniques even sounds oddly familiar....

That is probably part of why this little curiosity has gained the cult status it has over the years, but my personal guess as to why it's currently been floating round the webs, is that it's featured in the now infamous Nurse With Wound list - crafted by the artist bearing the same name aka Steven Stableton, and while you can accuse this man of making avant-guarde and left-field music, the things you'll encounter in the list will make him look like Sha-Na-Na. Spanning from musique concrete and free jazz to the most insane Krautrock and circus music ever conceived - one could indeed also find Don Bradshaw Leather's sole oevre Distance Between Us.

Somewhere along the ridges of Krautrock where you find the Tangerine dream solar flares of mellotron, you'll find the hovering part of this album. It's like watching a star being born. Suspended in mid air, the music twirls around itself with contours flickering metamorphosing back and forth like smoke caught in a stagnant room with beautifully fitted lush n creamy organ bubbles lying down underneath as a huge enveloping flying carpet. Pirouetting within this levitating sculpture of sound, you get the classical side of the man - the great big penguin suited guy, that throws himself around the piano like the Mozarts and Rachmaninovs of the world. Coupled together with those eerie mellotrons, that wouldn't sound out of place on either Alpha Centauri and Atem, the feel of the music mimics that of no other artist I've heard before in my life.

Drums!!!! Rhythms!!??? Are they even present on the album? Why sure - this is not ambient music, although some of it ventures into slow creepy Gothic electronics that sway and linger on the air like fingers of dust. When you get to the rambunctious parts of the album - suddenly things get tribal and wild with aggressive percussive forces that sound like they're coming from the heartland of the jungle. Long forceful drones of mantraing congas and African drums stack up on top of each other, and very cleverly adds the twang to an otherwise extremely elusive affair.

With a double sided LP you get fed 4 tracks around the 20 minute mark. One could very easily be lead into thinking that this classically trained musician would come up with something akin to compositions, yet the overriding principles to the music remain obscure and enigmatic. The tracks all develop as they go along, with either the organ or the piano leading things along in what may seem as the spear-tip of the music; the engine bay, where this black bearded guy shovels coal like a man possessed.

A lot of rumours have been going around, suggesting that David Tibet off of Current 93 has plans to rescue this long lost treasure, but I honestly don't know whether that bears fruit or not. I surely hope so. For an album cooked up in 1972, this is as out there and progressive as a baboon smoking the pipe - only a smidgen more beautiful, vast and mysterious.

This album is equal measures unfathomable and strangely alluring, and just like my good friend Steve said in his remarkable review of it, I too am slightly tempted to give this one the full Monty, but something's holding me back. Maybe the fact that the mere task it is to finish the album in one take, has you obliterated into smithereens and tiny protons - melted away in life's big Tetris cornucopia, before you reach the end of the journey. It takes time for me to reassemble and make ready for the next excursion into infinity and the tiny spaces in between. 4.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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