Vital Weekly

'I saw the best of my generation destroyed by madness' so sayeth beat poet Allan Ginsberg in Howl – and on the title page of the accompanying book (-let) to this CD. And it gets better when the Lord himself offers the second one: 'The light shines in darkness and darkness has not overcome it' (from John I:V). The name Daniel Thomas Freeman might be new to me, but the British engineer and producer has apparently been around for a while. A member of Toast in the 90s [DTF note: I only produced and engineered Toast] and Rameses III in the 00s Freeman finally released his solo debut album "The Beauty Of Doubting Yourself" in 2011. Freeman also scored the 2014 feature film "Catch Me Daddy", a thriller cut for Film 4, of which a reworking of the title track appears on this album. This brings us neatly to this album, Freeman's second under his own name — "The Infinite And Unknowable". According to the press release "The Infinite And Unknowable" was 'constructed' over a six year period from hundreds of layers of processes violin, percussion, accordion and electronics using a mythical Ballardian, as in author J.G. Ballard, sea voyage as its core. It is 'A visceral attempt to explore the fathomless mysteries of the divine'. Oh dear, you might say, but bear in mind that press statements are like Readers Digest: nothing more than a resume of the truth. Both should be read with considerable care washed down with some grains of salt. Having said that, "The Infinite And Unknowable" with its meandering, semi-classical and repetitive soundscapes does evoke memories of the works of people like Gavin Bryars and Arvo Pärt. The whole thing, 12 tracks in nearly 70 minutes in all, flows nicely, warm and friendly. The sea that Freeman travels in search of the divine is obviously an undisturbed one, its surface hardly ever broken by storm or hail. The accompanying 48 page A5 booklet features poems and black and white photographs by Freeman, including the poem that gives this album its title: 'Now and here is all I have/ Yet in the long shadow of the tomb/The infinite and unknowable/Speaks. I am uncertain and even slightly sceptical if listening to "The Infinite And Unknowable" will bring you nearer to understanding the divine – whatever/whoever that may be. However, as a journey for the eyes and ears, "The Infinite And Unknowable" works extremely well.

Monday 1 August 2016

All content © Daniel Thomas Freeman 2011 - 2023 (except where otherwise marked)