"The Dream" by RobinPlaysChords

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"The Dream" by RobinPlaysChords


I'm sorry to say that what with other recent distractions, I failed to spot the new RobinPlaysChords single "The Dream" when it was released, so I'm grateful to the eponymous Robin himself (Robin Jax) who is also the founder of their label Tiergarten Records, for drawing it to my belated attention.

A label which specialises in supporting neurodiverse artists, Tiergarten's catalogue is well worth exploring if your preference tends more to the interesting than the mainstream: apart from Robin's own output from a local base, it includes artists from elsewhere in the UK & from the USA too.

"The Dream" itself is also an early taste for the upcoming album ‘Unmasking', which I am told is "..about autistic self-realisation, rooted in geography, humanity, flesh, blood and bone, tempered by world events that have proven that reality is stranger than fiction" and comes out on 10th February.

If you recollect Robin's track "Yoruda" which is featured on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Seven' (and which didn't quite make it onto his 2017 'Teardrop Girl-Star' album), then you may feel you have something of a handle on the music of RobinPlaysChords. Which would be pretty quickly dispelled by listening to "The Dream" which doesn't resemble it much at all. In fact, from what he tells me, we are witnessing the opening passages of a new chapter in his sound. I imagine many reviewers will reach for the "avant garde" expression still, but the new track seems to have travelled further on down that particular road.

Though the vocal approach is consistent with earlier work, it's the music which has taken that journey: from the stately style of what came before which at least still seemed to be in communion with "conventional" instrumentation, to a much more fluid & seemingly unstable (and that fits well with the lyrics for sure) structure of sounds of less certain origin: what's making them is not always easy to identify. Voices enter, multiply & then recede. Passages suddenly change tone & rhythm and then almost seem to stick as stuttering repetition conveys particular aspects of the matter in hand.

Plenty for the listener to consider:  I'm not sure we are being asked to decode anything: there may be no definitive message here but fragments of loosely associated ideas which even the dreamer cannot assemble into anything wholly cohesive.

The album should be interesting if this is anything to go by….

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