Wholly Vague

the opening would be in the mountains

It is not difficult to become overwhelmed with how so much music remains in ignorance. Imagine all the music that might be perfect for you yet languishes in obscurity! However the discovery of a new artist(s) often brings with it newfound delights which would have remained shrouded in obscurity.

And so to Stephen Emmer, a Dutch artist, who in 1982 made an obscure little album called 'Vogue estate' - described (somewhere) as a film score without a film. It is reminiscent of the music I remember as a child in the car driving late at night, such as that by Jean Luc Ponty, his haunting electric violin in my ears as neon lights skipped by; exposure to the Associates also came then which is why it is some coincidence that I only found out about 'Vogue estate' because Billy Mackenzie appears on one of the songs. It seems that Michael Dempsey (bassist) and Martha Ladley (backing vocals) also appear (Martha sings on one of the songs) however the creation of this album (and the presence of any other Associates) otherwise remains a dense mystery. For once the 'net is proved useless.

Four songs caught my ear - 'vogue estate theme', 'wish on' (with billy mackenzie), 'eleven and then left', 'never share' (with martha ladley). If it was a film.... the opening would be in the mountains, the credits rolling over fir trees (somewhere like Switzerland with clean, crisp air) as pretty piano melodies float by. 'Wish on' is an altogether darker affair (should we not be surprised with Billy on board?) with rasping, hunted cello laid under discordant chords whilst Billy thunders away like an outtake from 'Sulk' - by now we are cruelly lost in the forest and he has no sympathy for us ('wish luck, wish on' he says). Conversation with him seems futile so we hide behind a tree until he vanishes in a burst of falsetto. But there is light amongst the trees in the shape of 'eleven and then left', following the pretty melody to the edge of the forest, where we discover a lonely, abandoned Martha Ladley (also of the muffins) singing her heart out. And there the film gets cut....


[Wholly Vague - Cerie - Review]

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