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I Grew From A Stone To A Statue


This is the first release by UK percussionist/singer Alex Neilson under his Black Flowers moniker. Founding mind-bending projects as Directing Hand and Scatter, playing with artists such as Will Oldham and Current 93, collaborating with Richard Youngs and Alastair Galbraith, and performing live with Jandek as a percussionist for all of his Glasgow appearances, I Grew From A Stone To A Statue is a musical log of his peripatetic travels through the musical landscape -- a summation to date of his musical praxis and a vertiginous launch pad into a number of possible futures. Joining him are a number of fellow travellers who share his love of song and a restless frustration with the limits imposed by that or any other form. Lavinia Blackwall, whose fearless improvised vocals have electrified other of Alex's projects, Trembling Bells and Directing Hand, also plays harp, psaltery and organ. Michael Flower plays guitar, never sounding more like the Leeds Takashi Mizutani than he does here. Possibly straying furthest from familiar territory is Glaswegian singer/songwriter Alasdair Roberts, who also plays guitar and shares vocals with Lavinia on the traditional "Polly On The Shore." The music they create frequently wrongfoots the listener with folk and rock references before tearing down with iconoclastic fervor all the associations of those song-based, narrative-driven, vocal-centered forms. What is left when that scaffolding is removed is music that is infinitely expansive and joyous in its freedom. The songs do have a narrative, but one that moves upwards and backwards as well as forwards, with a use of three-dimensional sonic space that doesn't figure in the rulebooks of those megalithic modes. Not only space but time becomes a fluid and malleable concept, as it always has been in the hands of those drummers good enough and free enough in style and mind to break through it.