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Greg Haines and Peter Broderick - Greg Gives Peter Space

"Greg Gives Peter Space"

Release date: 16 June 2014
Artworks 000079833929 5pr8i6 original
10 June 2014, 09:30 Written by Andrew Hannah
​Space has always been important to the music of Peter Broderick. On his “conventional” solo albums such as Home, Float and How They Are his subtle melodies and harmonies are matched to intricate piano and strings to create a gentle, un-invasive whole yet he knows how to use the space between the notes - the grace notes - just as powerfully.

Take a track like “Games” on Home: the silences between the beautiful choral sighs are just as moving as the vocalised sections, providing stirring intakes of breath before the music pours in again. Then there’s his more classical or improvised work; on film scores real and imagined; here Broderick works with the spaces and the visuals, working sounds into the gaps and trying to find the perfect balance between release and restraint. His partner here, on Greg Gives Peter Space, Greg Haines, is someone who again works with space in his music. “So It Goes”, from his most recent work Where We Are is a hushed ambient piece that slowly builds until sound rushes to fill the spaces the minutes before had created. One man works with the space, the other toys with it before moving to push sounds into it.

These two met while living in Berlin; American Broderick is now living back in the States following time in Scandinavia and Germany, while Brit Haines still lives in the German capital. Having discussed making music together for a while, the two bonded over a love of another genre that takes advantage of grace notes: dub. Finally, hunched over Haines’ analogue instrumentation with Broderick singing, the two have made a mostly improvised record of dub-infused excursions and it’s as good as the pedigree of the two gentlemen involved would have you believe it to be.

While Greg Gives Peter Space is mainly a dub record, it is sometimes only in the loosest sense of the word; take second track “Electric Eel River” as an example, it’s mostly Broderick and what sounds like a banjo with him singing medieval folk choral harmonies while in the background Haines elongates some bursts of synthesiser noise, taking advantage of the space between Broderick’s vocals to stretch out the electronic notes. Elsewhere, though, it does sound like it could have been created at the legendary Black Ark desk.

“The Feeling Shaker” has Broderick working improvised and looped chanting over spaced-out organ which is twisted, bent and stretched out by Haines’ use of tape delays, while “A Clear View” bounces around on narcotic percussion and well-sprung synths and fully embraces the concept of the record. It just sounds fun. That’s matched by closing track “February Space Dub”; it begins with what feels like pulse signals from outer space, barely there and floating into the silences of the track, gently feeling out to Broderick’s disembodied wordless croon and trying to work around the voice, and with it. The whole track moves like that, gently circling and exploring space, each element of the song (in particular a celestial organ sound that’s incredibly beautiful) making sure to interact with each other - not to fight for the precious space.

You can imagine the fun Broderick and Haines would have playing around with these tracks live, changing the structure and the sounds as they work around each other’s compositions. On record it feels ever-so-slightly forced at times, despite the improvised nature, but I do mean ever-so-slightly. It’s the fun and the freedom that shines through on Greg Gives Peter Space and that bodes exceedingly well for any future collaborations.

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