Duotone - A Life Reappearing - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Duotone - A Life Reappearing

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2018-05-04
Duotone - A Life Reappearing
Duotone - A Life Reappearing

How many classically trained cellists are you aware of that have made some great modern music with pop, electro or folk elements? At least music that is memorable and something you can truly listen to. One I guess, and that would be the late great Arthur Russell. Well, here’s another one, Barney Morse-Brown, who records under the name of Duotone, and A Life Reappearing, his new album is quite a memorable listening experience.

Morse-Brown didn’t just drop out of nowhere. This is his fourth album as Duotone, but he has also played with quite a number of names, particularly those connected with the more folk side of the spectrum, like The Imagined Village, Eliza Carthy, and Birdy among others.

What becomes evident on A Life Reappearing is that Morse-Brown doesn’t simply try to show off his obviously well-developed education in classical music, but has a feel for how to employ that knowledge in more ‘profane’ musical fields like folk and pop. He was able to truly integrate his classical music background, and particularly the sound of the cello into quite intricate folk/pop arrangements, evident throughout the album, but particularly on tracks like “The Room”. After, all cello is not an instrument that is easy to position into more modern musical forms.

The arrangements and particularly Barney’s vocals recall Peter Broderick, an artist with a similar classical music background, but there are also obvious comparisons with a legend that crossed the boundaries of folk, pop, classical and jazz, that is Nick Drake. Morse-Brown comes out of those comparisons with high marks.

The intricate musical arrangements and melodies of tracks like “Halfway House”, "Martha" or the closing instrumental title track make for some fulfilling late night/early morning listening, with not a single tone or stroke of the bow on the cello strings distracting from it. An extremely enjoyable musical experience.

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