An interesting, occasionally profound experimental collection from the Oregon artist.
Luke Slater 2012
A few years ago Peter Broderick may have been best known for his work with other musicians. But, with a bag-full of varied and accomplished solo releases now behind him, that can surely no longer be the case. And so his prodigious reputation continues with These Walls of Mine.
There is no doubt that These Walls of Mine is essentially a highly refined series of sketches, but that by no means diminishes its quality. What Broderick can put forward in this format surpasses much of what many others do by more conventional means.
Broderick has described this collection of experimental songs as being “held together by dialogue of voices”. And that could not be clearer than on Freyr!, as well as When I Blank I Blank, which contain outsourced lyrics and general thoughts from fans and friends. It’s the amalgamation of these elements that proves a strong part of this album’s appeal.
These experimentations bloom emotionally, occasionally into profoundly melancholic moments. I’ve Tried being is a minimalist lament in which the performer’s voice and words take precedence, whether alone or layered, with a little support from bass guitar.
The title track is divided into two consecutive cuts, the first of which is barely a spoken-word piece and the latter is, plainly enough, those same words repeated but rapped in front of a skittish backing, to breathtaking effect. This approach gives the listener an idea into the starting and end point of this particular beast, if not exactly an insight into its evolution – and so it is with the album’s remainder, laid bare to dissect and enjoy.
Broderick has been fairly prolific so far in his career, not just with his own work but also for his peers and contemporaries. For artists like these, quality control can occasionally be a rare thing. But you need not fear here, as the unshrouded nature of these compositions reveals interesting and insightful aspects of the creator and his practice.