Alexander Tucker - Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Alexander Tucker - Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2019-08-23
Alexander Tucker - Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver
Alexander Tucker - Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver

Alexander Tucker is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer from Kent. He has previously worked with Stephen O’Malley, Duke Garwood and Daniel O’Sullivan (amongst others). Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver is his 8th album and he approached it as ‘a collection of short stories, inspired by my love of writers like Philip K. Dick, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury and Alan Moore.’

Energy Alphas starts with skittering beats and strings before a fuzz bass joins in. Tucker’s rich, flexible voice then enters. His voice is strong and clear, like Brian Eno, John Cale or John Grant. And, like all those artists, he likes to put a strong tune over the weirdness. Strange Modern Classical sounds start off Artificial Origin. The rhythm from From Her To Eternity comes in, joined by plucked strings, noise and the fuzz bass again. The fuzz bass takes up so much room that it almost becomes a second sound other than what it is. Once more the song is a long one with Tucker setting up an interesting arrangement and then delivering the song over the top. There’s a chorus, but it doesn’t feel like a chorus because there’s very little change in the arrangement when it happens. It possibly has the feel of late-period Swans. Like Swans, the intensity builds towards the song’s conclusion. Programmed beats start Montag, joined by strings that harmonise in an almost dirge-like way, there’s certainly a tug towards the Avant-Garde without losing tuning or structure. Once again, Tucker’s songwriting is fascinating – there’s a strong melody but no real clues about which is verse or chorus, other than the repetition of words. This structural peculiarity gives the album the feel of a song cycle. Precog starts without the drums, in an almost folky drone-strum. When Tucker’s vocal comes in it is surrounded by sustained Fripp like notes. The vocal melody is the sweetest on the album. Cryonic is the last and longest song on the album. It starts quietly, setting up a contrast between the acoustic instruments and the programmed beats. Repetition is a big factor on this album and Tucker lets this arrangement run for some time before a Viola or Violin comes in (not sure which). The slightly chattering, wheezing feel to the music reminds me of Phillip Glass. Slowly the full arrangement is revealed as if a camera is being drawn backwards. After quite a wordy album (understandable given its influences) Cryonic is just the repetition of the title by a choir of Tuckers.

Despite its modern sheen Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver most resembles something on Island in the early to mid-70s – it’s like a John Cale, Brian Eno, or Nico album from that time. As with those albums, there’s a blurring of the lines between pop, classical and something truly out there. Tucker is not the new Eno or Cale (they’re still about) but he stands easily in that company. A fascinating album and artist.

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