Monday, June 29, 2015

the hour of bewilderbeast

Badly Drawn Boy fueled the fire and caused a rockslide that left us wanting more with the blistered bewilderment of this dark labyrinth of disillusion.  Damon Gough grew up in the area of Bolton, Lancashire and after studying at  Leeds’ College of Music, he met up with Andy Votel to form Twisted Nerve Records.   

Gough reveals:   “In some ways the isolation of living in a village made me veer towards being a solo artist, in a strange way, because I was used to being on my own...I was in a couple of bands, but always had the mentality of being a solo artist, perhaps because of that village isolation...That definitely had some influence on the route I took, and my mum and dad being self-employed – running their own small business – probably gave me that attitude of doing it for myself, starting my own record label ... I was living in this commune with a few friends up past Blackburn. They all decided to move to Chorlton so I moved with them and I really started to take making music seriously. I met Andy Votel one night DJ-ing and Andy had this ambition to start a record label. I had reams of ideas from hours spent in my bedroom playing guitars and keyboards. Andy was one of the first people I played some of my ideas to: he showed some belief in me and decided to start a label called Twisted Nerve Records. I had the stupid name, he had the label ... There was a cartoon called "Sam and his Magic Ball" in the 70's. In one episode, the main joke was a character who was a really bad drawing. He was really upset because all the other characters were finished. I made up the moniker based on him. It was only intended to be for the first EP but it became so notorious that I ended up having to stick with it."

Badly Drawn Boy released five EP's (EP1EP2EP3It Came from the Ground, and Once Around the Block) before recording his debut album for Beggars Banquet subsidiary XL Recordings.   'The Hour of Bewilderbeast' was produced by Badly Drawn Boy, Gary Wilkinson, Joe Robinson, and Ken Nelson at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool.  The sessions featured Badly Drawn Boy (Damon Gough) on vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drum machine, tambourine, handclaps, whistling, slide guitar, harmonica, Wurlitzer electric piano, lead keyboards, organ solo, drum machine organs, percussion, crash cymbal, vibraphone, xylophone, harp, string arrangement, and sound effects;     Matt McGeever on cello and handclaps;   Sam Morris on bass, keyboards, French horn, and handclaps;   Ian Smith on drums, electric guitar, percussion, vibraphone, and handclaps;   Joe Robinson on drum programming, loops, theremin, effects, and sound effects;  Andy Votel on drum programming, effects, piano, keyboards, strings samples, and samples;   Adrian Dacre, Andy Williams, and Spencer Birtwhistle on drums;   Sean Kelly on drums and handclaps;   Ian Rainford, Sophie Williams, and Derrick Santini on handclaps;   Jez Williams on electric guitar and slide guitar;   Jimi Goodwin on bass;   Martin Rebelski on Wurlitzer electric piano, clavinet, and keyboards;  Gary Wilkinson on keyboards, drum programming, sirens, and noises;   Paul Taylor on string arrangements;   the Northern New Orleans Brass Band on horns;   Clare Hewitt on backing vocals;   Robin File on electric and acoustic guitar;   Matt Wardle on piano, organ, synthesizer, keyboards, and vocals;  Sean Mcann on bass guitar;   and Dave Verner on drums and percussion.   

Gough says:   "'Bewilderbeast' was about the search for a relationship or series of relationships that I encompassed into one for the cycle. I've got my security and fan base and everything I wanted, but it's still tough. A lot of that got on the record ... Basically, it's a way of describing someone as human and vulnerable no matter how much they come across as being confident and cocksure."

The album cover art was designed by Andy Votel, based on  The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci.  It originally included an image of Woody Allen; but had to be redone when a suit was filed.  Also, the song  "Magic in the Air" was remixed when Taja Sevelle claimed they copied her song "Love Is Contagious".

'The Hour of Bewilderbeast' reached number thirty-six on the US heatseekers album chart, twenty-three on the US independent albums chart, and thirteen in the UK, where it also won the prestigious Mercury Prize, beating out The Doves who had played on his album.  Gough would express:   "I always assumed I was never going to win because good things don't happen to good people normally ... It was very exciting and I will always be grateful for it starting my career. People talk about it being an Achilles heel or an albatross, but I think it’s just a coincidence that the acts that receive it are not the kind of artists who tend to stay in the charts. They make records in their own time and space."


"Once Around the Block"

"Pissing in the Wind"

"Another Pearl"

'The Hour of Bewilderbeast' 
full album:

All music composed by Badly Drawn Boy (Damon Gough).

1. "The Shining"   5:18
2. "Everybody's Stalking"   3:39
3. "Bewilder"   0:48
4. "Fall in a River"   2:17
5. "Camping Next to Water"   3:50
6. "Stone on the Water"   3:58
7. "Another Pearl"   4:27
8. "Body Rap"   0:45
9. "Once Around the Block"   3:44
10. "This Song"   1:32
11. "Bewilderbeast"   3:30
12. "Magic in the Air"   3:43
13. "Cause a Rockslide"   5:55
14. "Pissing in the Wind"   4:19
15. "Blistered Heart"   1:50
16. "Disillusion"   5:19
17. "Say It Again"   4:41
18. "Epitaph"   3:50

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