Monday, April 13, 2020
The Peter Ulrich Collaboration Release Brilliant New Record “Final Reflections”
One of the coolest releases of the year is the new Peter Ulrich Collaboration- "Final Reflections". With a sea-swaying rhythmic vibe and darkened melodic tone, this new collection of songs are most impressive in a variety of ways. The instrumentation is unique, featuring everything from xylophones to strings, songs about pirates and sleepwalking witches. There are notable influences of Nick Cave and Polly Jean Harvey. Ulrich seeks a path to beauty through the darker channels of lyrics and love. Mythical inflections and folklore are conjured up from song to song in the same way a film score is conceived. The compositions are hallucinatory and vivid, like music drunk on moonshine from a classical century.
'Lessons of Love' opens with a delicious lead vocal as sweet as any R.E.M. song. Much like the unplugged era of R.E.M., the instrumentation is very 1960's, something like the classics of The Byrds and The Zombies. The album swiftly moves to a totally different vibe in 'Severely Blessed' which is like the great poets of rock and roll- Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. It's a character study of a man back from the dead, hovering over polyrhythmic drum patterns. An interesting turn of spirit for Ulrich, an accomplished percussionist himself, formerly of the group- Dead Can Dance. 'Hawk Dreams' is another stand out track, a strong lead vocal, dreamy and eloquent music slithering above slide guitar and Twin Peaks atmospheric ambience.
In the midst of the album, one gets the feeling of a loner, a world traveler singing autobiographical songs about life and loss. There is a beautiful sadness in the lyrics like Tom Waits crooning under the moonlight sky. 'Nightwalker and Love Witch' is filled with an assortment of percussive shakers, marching snare drums and exquisite string arrangements. This is one of my favorite songs off the LP. With repeated listens, one continuously discovers new sounds and colors from this mammoth palette of instruments used for this record.
For the casual listener, blog critic or skilled musician, this album is a remarkable artistic achievement, far and beyond any previous release of the year. I can only wonder what new ground, new sonic territory Peter Ulrich will explore in the future. Brilliant to say the least, my ears are glued to this project with excitement I haven't felt in a long time.
The Peter Ulrich Collaboration is a collaboration helmed by Peter Ulrich, former percussionist for the iconic Dead Can Dance, the brilliantly innovative band that music historian Ian McFarlane described as world music that "constructed soundscapes of mesmerizing grandeur and solemn beauty... with African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chants, Middle-Eastern mantras and art-rock". Ulrich met Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, the founders and cornerstones of Dead Can Dance, in London in 1982 and joined the band on drums and percussion. After leaving DCD and after releasing a string of critically acclaimed releases as a solo artist, Peter's next big step was The Peter Ulrich Collaboration.
The Collaboration is the brainchild of Ulrich and Trebor “Big T” Lloyd of City Canyons Productions as producer and a principal collaborator. The Collaboration mixes folk rock, world rock, art rock and psychedelic music with a world view that encompasses alternative history, fictional universes, Steampunk, and Goth, and recalls the exquisitely crafted soundscapes of Dead Can Dance. The group features songwriting by Ulrich, Lloyd, and New York songwriters Anne Husick, Sara Wendt and Kathy Sheppard among others with vocals by David Steele, Wendt, Ulrich, Jen Elliott, Shane Chapman, Stephanie Linn, Timothy Dark and other bright American and English talents. The vocalists are backed by a crackerjack band playing rock, post-rock, world and folk influenced music.