Three Cane Whale

Picked up on this three-piece ( Alex Vann, Pete Judge, Paul Bradley) after reading a tip-off from Ian Anderson (Froots, Blue Blokes Three). How to describe them? I suppose in a nutshell, instrumental, featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonium, psaltery, music-box (!), trumpet and glockenspiel,but not necessarily all at once.

Left to right: Bradley, Judge, Vann

In fact the sound is mostly pretty minimalist, with repetitive motifs from individual instruments as melodic fragments come and go passed on from instrument to instrument. Some tunes are pretty rhythmic, whilst others flow gently. Hints of Philip Glass are suggested (Skein), and there is something of a low-key Chamber music version of the Penguin Cafe too (Isserley), with jazziness and a pastoral folkiness thrown into the mix. All three are excellent musicians with a beautiful touch, skilfully integrating with one another to great effect. Titles are quirky Aphelion, Look Up At the Sky (and Remind Yourself How Insignificant You Are), Noctule and The Brazen Head, hard to guess just what they will sound like when they appear, but they do not disappoint! Twenty tracks in total, but some are quite short, so don’t expect some bloated giant of a record! The genesis of the album is interesting too – this from the band’s Myspace page

Our eponymous debut album was recorded live (by Spiro’s Jon Hunt) in an eleven hour shift in an eighteenth-century Bristol church last summer. Distant snippets of birdsong occasionally spill into the mix, which also celebrates the eccentric creakings and clickings of the trio’s unusual instrumentation.

If you enjoyed the Virginia Astley, chances are you’d like this too, and bits of it make me think of an acoustic version of the Summers/Fripp record too!! Here are some clips as a taster…

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