private release Wentworth Kersey -(0)-(US,2008)****
This is Joe Kersey Sampson (A Dog Paloma) on guitars and vocals and nephew Jeffrey Wentworth Kersey (George & Caplin) creating soundscapes behind his tracks. This is the first of a trilogy of EP's. The music sounds rather “complete”, I would even say they have a “progressive” effect, while it still can be described within the range of new Americana, but then it still sounds different to any other album I have heard before that I would describe as being associated with this style. While being based upon acoustic guitar driven songs with sad melodic sense, undressed from the deeper grief with a warm presence, the tracks are surrounded by a different world from which it is unclear how much it is based upon keyboards, some of these sounds are thoughtfully developed. Jeffrey told me they are build from single notes from his other recordings and public domain samples. “I use to play across my keyboards to create my own take or new synth sounds to create a backing orchestra. It is several layers to make a simple sound note progression often what feels like one instrument is several glued together. The songs are just guitar and vocals and tons of single note stabs to create a backing band experience or me doing several takes my keyboards/samplers through a live amp and recorded live to create the band feel. Or dumping down cheesy sounds from synths through vintage amps and tape to make them feel real or from the 60's.”
On the first track these thick keyboard based arrangements, and even orchestrations swell along with the music, making it filmic like a song from a movie, which I think was the purpose. On the second track the additional supporting background is like an ambient landscape of echoing, moving around and breathing-like-mountains range, while the song and lyrics still comes completely to the fore well. The third track gets an semi-Indian exotic environment and this while keeping the new Americana mood on front as well, like a sad western song. On the next instrument track the range of sounds in the arrangements have well balanced wide contrasts, are slowly developing something of an ambient triphop nature, which is like orchestrated. The rhythm which comes and goes in this repeats comparable moments of the previously associated exotic flavours. The singing with certain arranged harmonies in the voice on “Riot” comes over very warmly, but still the guitar and voice gets a whole orchestra of additional subtle arrangements to it (which is keyboard based mostly, with subtle sounds of glass, glockenspiel, different keyboards,..). It is such a sad song without mourning. The lyrics which grasped me immediately were from the last track, “Impressed?” with the line like “did you pretend you were only a friend ? I wish I had”. The dramatic ambient vocal choir which is arranged to it is equally impressive and effective. A very strong debut. Highly recommended.
Jeffrey also told me how they were inspired by Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen, Phil Spector, and Brian Eno, which explains the recording and inspirational process. They have called the music rather unusually like sci-fi folk because it felt like the music was created via a science experiment feel rather than through a live recording process.