Simone Felice - The Projector

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:10 Release Date:2018-04-27
Simone Felice - The Projector
Simone Felice - The Projector

‘All the while you felt so alone/but all the while there were bugs in the phone and you were not alone.’ (“The Projector”) Talkin’ ‘bout darkness. Three words that can easily describe The Projector, the best album Simone Felice made under either Felice Brothers guise or one of the three albums under his own names.

You see, Felice is currently one of the best poetic voices in modern music who took the route of doing practically no music, with just poetry in his head and turned it into this dark musical vision that makes Cohen’s darkest moments, Springsteen’s Nebraska or anything Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Nick Cave or Mark Lanegan committed to tape recorders as light listening. Of course, there are exceptions, but he came damn close for sure. And on The Projector, he does it exactly the way it seems needed to be done.

Starting out as just one more aspiring poet at the New York’s poetry scene back in 1998, through The Band-like Felice Brothers project to a sought-out producer (The Lumineers, Bat For Lashes), Felice comes up with one of the albums that should deservedly end up on any best of 2018 list.

Opening with the title track that could easily accompany “The Conversation” , one of Coppola’s movie masterpieces, Felice packs his incredible lyrics with a voice that has come a long way and some seemingly sparse, but perfectly fitting music, that even the embellishments of a studio wizard like Four Tet and backing vocals from Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan serve to accentuate the words Felice is singing. There is a lot of pleasure to be had in Felice’s use of language, though: “One of them girls got cold feet/ she dreamt of a whole fleet of ships burning in the bay/ Alas, we descend from a strange race of men who delight in the flesh of the stowaway.” (“The Fawn”)

Still, the music itself sounds varied and picks up the pace, like in “Same On Any Corner”, not to lighten up the load, but to represent a perfect foil for the words. Being lucky enough to hear Felice recite his poems on one occasion during the “Crossing Border Festival” in The Hague, “they’d Hang Upon My Every Word” comes as a reminder what is, among others, Felice’s key strength.

Quite often, dark musical experiences thatThe Projector certainly is, represent just another personal burden for the listener. But what you get from this dark album is a sense of release and relief, something that is so hard and is rarely achieved. Simone Felice does it.

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