Trevor de Brauw - Uptown [The Flesher - 2017]Trevor Shelley de Brauw's 20 year musical career has manifested as an exploration of the vast sonic possibilities of the guitar. Best known for his work with post-rock mainstays Pelican and other projects of varying frequency and notoriety, Uptown is his debut as a solo artist.
Mixing deconstructed riffs, guitar drones and controlled feedback “Uptown” is a six track album that’s taken a decade to complete and is as far removed from (pre or post) “Rock” music as it is possible to be.
Starting with the six minute “A New Architecture” you are instantly hit with squealing feedback and drones before these calm down after four minutes into a gentle lilting guitar refrain with drone as the back drop. And from that point you are treated to just how inventive Trevor is. Admittedly Sonic Youth, Fear Falls Burning and My Bloody Valentine have worked the guitar experiment already, and Sutcliffe Jugend are still using its potential as their noise backdrop, Trevor has totally reinvented the instruments abilities and sonic range.
Track two, “Distinct Frequency” is closer to Eno than The Edge, atmospheric, simple and as each ambient note passes you are left wondering “how?”. “They Keep Bowing” lands with subdued distortion, yet has a plaintiff aspect that rapidly becomes anger as the full weight of the track becomes apparent, and its ending is the most “normal” sounding distorted guitar so far!
Although Trevor clearly has a rare talent, you are not listening to the pretensions and over intellectualising of one mans’ mission. This isn’t avant garde for avant garde sake, this is beautifully constructed music that will easily envelop and enrich you.
“You Were Sure” is a soft droning piece with plucked guitar and vocals. There’s something beautifully spacious about this piece. The penultimate track “Turn Up For What” begins with an almost sonar like tone, this is more akin to the likes of Ryoji Ikeda and minimal electronica than My Bloody Valentine, as the drones begin to loop and twist within this eight minute piece it takes three minutes before anything like a recognisable guitar sound even begins to become audible, as the music just swoons around you.
And we end with the elven minute “From The Black Soil Poetry and Song Sprang”: a repeating refrain under which we have drones that give this whole piece an almost Celtic feel.
Uptown in ingenious and playful, it’s intelligent and emotional. De Brauw is a unique talent, and with Uptown he has shown his abilities for crafting glorious music is second to none, A wonderful album.Adam Skyes