thu 18/04/2019

Album of the Year: Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare | reviews, news & interviews

Album of the Year: Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare

Album of the Year: Jonathan Wilson – Fanfare

A disconcertingly familiar musical dreamland which will last

Jonathan Wilson's 'Fanfare': wholly redolent of another time and place

It’s ironic that the album which has invited itself back onto the turntable more often than any other this year is wholly redolent of another time and place: the California of the early Seventies. Whatever the shortcomings of his live performance, on his second album Fanfare Jonathan Wilson fashioned a dense, atmospheric whole whose constituent ingredients were explicitly acknowledged – and not just by the identity of those guesting on the album. But it was also wholly original and showcased a unique yet disconcertingly familiar voice. And it revealed more and more depth with repeated visits. An album which will last.

If it had been representative of the here and now, it would have been angry and most probably abrasively unlistenable. Anything which drew from Britain 2014, a nation governed by an unrepresentative administration nobody voted for, would have to be the sound of the demonised, marginalised and persecuted disabled; an evocation of the mendacious back-door privatisation of education and health; an echo of the forcing through of a purposeless railway line which will destroy a chunk of Britain which is propagated solely to fill the pockets of developers; a world where parts of the press have been categorically shown to be evil yet are not reigned in; the craven licence given to tax avoiders to shirk what should go hand-in-hand with being allowed to trade in this country; giving in to whingeing, profiteering energy companies who don’t fancy paying green taxes while giving tax breaks to frackers; creating policies which mean the vulnerable can’t pay their rent and then ousting some tenants from their community. The list could go on. No wonder Wilson’s musical dreamland stood out.

Of course, there were other albums which were equally great: John Grant’s extraordinary Pale Green Ghosts, Anna von Hausswolff’s thrillingly intense Ceremony which received a belated UK release this year, Maarja Nuut’s evocative, liquid and transporting Soolo and Sumie’s self-titled debut, a mood piece which disarmingly opened the window on a psyche distanced from self and home. Fanfare though, beyond being manifestly great, is also the polar opposite of where we are now and as such is a necessary and timely palliative.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Overleaf: watch the video for "Love to Love" from Jonathan Wilson’s Fanfare

'Fanfare' is the polar opposite of where we are now, and as such is a necessary and timely palliative

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