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Peter Murphy
Dust
Metropolis


As Peter Murphy reaches ever deeper into eastern music and philosophy, Dust furthers his explorations by employing traditional Turkish musicians. That is not to say that the music is authentically indigenous of his current homeland. Longtime cohort Michael Brook and recent associates Hugh Marsh and Mercan Dede bring modernization to the Sufist instrumentation. Murphy’s emphasis on this pool of talent is such that he is credited at the bottom of the roster as "backing vocals." The lyrics stray from his past sublime riddles in favor of awkward phrases and non-sequiturs. He seems to stumble on them, and realizing the oddness, repeats the offending particle. Each pass becomes increasingly more difficult and obvious.

Perhaps the narrative in "Things To Remember" is supposed to be our guide, The power of poetry comes from the ability to defy logic/Defy logic often/When you do that we won’t believe you/…But we’ll see a meaning. Interesting idea, but the other school of thought is to go on to something decipherable. This lesson is interspersed with a belly dance heavy with Dede’s electronic beats. Murphy stretches his voice even more than usual to quivering highs and rubber-faced lows. Those unaccustomed to this note bending may wonder what exactly he’s driving at. The very rewarding "Fake Sparkle" is chock full of nimble strings, picked and stroked. Murphy himself uses his voice like a trilling violin, playing against Marsh. A soothing deep moan underlies almost undetectable. Dede’s chains rattle pre-industrial machinery as percussion. Since three persons, including Murphy, are credited for bass on "No Home Without Its Sire" it’s hard know who to blame for the jazzy 70’s slap-and-tickle. The most likely suspect is the guy who’s allowed that sort of thing since Should The World Fail To Fall Apart. The lyrics hint at Stevie Wonder before touching mystery. No yesterdreams/no faded flick/no body’s sap and tire. These are the patented discordant doubled vocals that influenced Alice In Chains and countless unknowing others.

Call it coincidence or oversight, but it’s strange that "Just For Love" was absent from the concert album of the same name. (Alive Just For Love Review) The percussive piece becomes tribal, with Dede’s hand drums and great qawwali vocalizations. Matthew Burton adds didgeridoo, as Marsh goes to town on fiddle. Hell, he was headed down to Georgia looking for souls to steal. The only distraction is Murphy repeatedly over-stressing the word Luminescent. With its nostalgic plodding rhythm, Jamaladeen Tacuma’s sly blues bass and slapped snare, "Girlchild Aglow" comes in like Bone Machine era Tom Waits. The underwater musicbox is a real departure for Murphy. But unfortunately, so is the prog-rock guitar (violin?) wanking that follows. The layers build on that missed step and make a huge mess. And this just when Murphy was trying the new trick of singing in octaves with himself. A huge throbbing heartbeat pervades "Your Face" as Marsh’s violin mourns woefully. On track with the words now, Murphy even triples the vocals, singing I trace your feet/like transparent thrones/I dream of you clinging/I am not alone. The tempo is just right for sleeping and darn little else.

Marsh weaves between the guitars on "Jungle Haze" pulling the cloth tight. Tacuma gets a nice juicy bass run in when they let him. The free orchestration joins and disperses instruments in a pleasing way. Murphy sounds nearly wounded as the words ache out of him. Marsh sympathizes with sobbing strings. The interaction of sounds in this arrangement and the re-flavored "My Last Two Weeks" are akin to the area Van Morrison explored in his mystic work. The low end booming and spanning the measure while several light noodling parts work in succession up top. "My Last Two Weeks" slow 6/8 waltz and delicately plucked harp create magic with the simple progression. This is the sort of overwhelming beauty that should be experienced on rare occasions so as not to ruin it. Dede puts cool record static on top, then goes back farther stealing drums from an orchestra music box. "Subway" must be Murphy’s favorite song because the Cascade song appeared on the concert album as well. There must be a message he’s trying to get out with it. Maybe he’s waiting downtown every night for Petula Clark.

On a scale of artists bringing in indigenous musics to their work: one being David Byrne & Fela, and ten being Peter Gabriel & Youssou N'Dour; Dust rates a seven – The KLF & Tammy Wynette.

Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

  1. Things To Remember
  2. Fake Sparkle Or Golden Dust
  3. No Home Without Sire
  4. Just For Love
  5. Girlchild Aglow
  6. Your Face
  7. Jungle Haze
  8. My Last Two Weeks
  9. Subway (Epilogue)

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