Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙀𝙢𝙥𝙩𝙮 𝙈𝙞𝙣𝙙 - 𝙃𝙪𝙜𝙤 𝘽𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙤
Charles, in solitude, plays with his overactive imagination. What else is one to do in a time like this…?
A small, seemingly inoffensive yet curious ogre crawls out from behind a sheet of rusted iron. The land is littered with enormous glass and metal spikes and shapes. An insistent breeze whips up the dust. This hunchbacked chap peers around with large bug-like open eyes, not with hesitation but with genuine intrigue. As if he has either been beamed down from another place entirely, or maybe he has simply been asleep for a brief eternity. He is a bold creature, not afraid, but inquisitive. A sunlit mound in the distance catches his eye. The tallest shiny shard has been picked for the hill. At its foot lies a man. Just a man. He plays a classical guitar in the humid atmosphere. His name is Hugo Bento. The gremlin sees this as a sign of life and therefore a reason to make something of this forgotten place. Despite the temperature, it has a chill about it. Whatever it was, it cannot have been too hospitable.
Hugo’s Spanish flourishes pause for a moment. A tempo is formed, percussion joins from somewhere and the hushed unison choir completes his beginning. This too is the beginning for our wrinkled friend and his ventures. Hugo sings of a mind full of thoughts, but that feels empty. A lost soul. Old Hunchy empathises. He has decided to use this wandering, lustrous soundtrack to his advantage. He will rebuild the land to how he feels it should be, but he can only use what he has. The little chap sees no one but Hugo, but he feels there is life, somewhere, as if there were other creatures but they were too afraid to show their faces. He observes only cold, simplistic structures and feels there could be more to this land were it to be kinder and more approachable. And so our friend, Wrinkles, gets to work.
Let’s use this time to focus on Hugo and his single, Empty Mind. A Spaniard, having spent much of his life in Spain, but also in Japan, his influences are clear. There is however, a ‘traditionally modern’ sound to what he makes. There is heart and heartache. There is subtle brilliance in his arrangements in terms of voice, percussion and guitar. It is anything but ordinary. There is tension throughout, using almost only suspensions, rarely resolving. He is not afraid to surprise with odd time signatures thrown in from time to time. It shouldn’t work. It works. There is a meditative drone of an open D string which grounds the song where it needs grounding. The cajon makes for a refreshing change from that fat backbeat we are so used to hearing in modern pop music. Despite its sleepy flow, this song has great confidence and power.
Our bent-backed toiler has been busy. He has used abandoned rocks not as building materials, but as tools to cut the glass and hammer the iron into shape. He has even managed to curve some panes of glass by the heat of the sun. Clever chap! It is a wonder what he is achieving. His idea was to make buildings for people and creatures, where instead of simply being built for purpose, that they could actually look beautiful and feel welcoming. A novel and rather modern approach! The structures he was given to work with, might seem to us like a forgotten future. To Old Hunchy, it is a departed past. He is dead set on creating an unknown future, which to us would maybe feel more like the distant past. He has no past from which to draw. The busy little man makes rooves from sun-curved glass (yes, I say rooves - leave me alone). He makes columns, pediments and porticos from steel. He deconstructs the grid-like layout of the forgotten land and makes it more interesting by creating winding streets and lanes. He sweats. He continues. He would not dream of asking Hugo to help. Hugo’s soundtrack is the much needed impetus to go on. I’m sure many of us can relate to the struggle of manual labour without music…
Hugo starts to smile as he sees what is before him. As our little gremlin completes some final touches in the way of ornamentation - acorns for interest; gargoyles modelled on himself, people and things start to filter through the snakes of newly laid streets. They sway with the rhythm of the music. Right foot forward, left foot forward, left foot back, pause. Left foot forward, right foot forward, right foot back, pause. I see your cogs turning as the image comes to life. Hunchy joins Hugo on the hill to admire his own labours.
Hugo Bento’s work is impressively different. How could I possibly have come up with this absurd scenario had I not had food for thought…?
Listen to 𝙀𝙢𝙥𝙩𝙮 𝙈𝙞𝙣𝙙 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝙀𝙢𝙥𝙩𝙮 𝙈𝙞𝙣𝙙 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
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