Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
Chris Chapple flag England - Full Moon 76 - 12/19/02

The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden
Catsup Plate Records

Midway through This Heat's Deceit, Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, and Gareth Williams nasally chant the line "History repeats itself" in cycles, reiterating the words until the true nature of the line makes sense in the subconscious' black folds and becomes fully realized. "Reee-Peee," the syllables interlock, recuring into reality, their meanings peeled and re-converging as one, the sound world spiraling inwards with each repetition. Hayward once said that hearing Robert Wyatt sing in that fragile, telltale Canterbury accent while drumming with The Soft Machine in the '60's inspired him to trust his own voice in song in the latter part of the 70's. Hear how his voice wavers to the surface for the first time in their drifting, infinitely sad "Not Waving" off their first album, which matches the empathy of the similary-titled poem by Stevie Smith.

And so history repeats itself into the new millennium. Six and a half minutes into the melancholic droning of Daniel Padden's "Remnant Kings," the intoning kazoo sounds, and it all breaks into a hymn: "We rise and fall in time, Remnant Kings, of all our eyes." In an evolved, yet not dissimilar style, this Volcano The Bear member's first solo outing, E Pluribus Unum-ly titled The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden, the work and words of both Soft Machine and This Heat come to mind. From a similar part of the English countryside of the aforementioned classic groups, their most singular DNA and dialect is readily present in Padden's sound disposition. What comes to the fore though, aside from their open senses of musical freedom and structuring, is where these groups draw their inspiration, further into the past, beyond conventional Western styles. As Wyatt loved playing with African musicians such as Mongezi Feza, and certain This Heat tracks drew from tribal rhythms and instruments of the Liberian Vai or Ituri pygmies to create that dreamy, hypnotic cycling, so too does Padden imbibe in the wistful/ whimsical folk sounds of the dark continent, concocting a dreamy sensation not too far off from where the woozy palm wine drunkard would sleep it all off.

Here one can imagine The Residents in their earliest taped incarnation, donning their hideously carved Beatles masks on "Circus Homunculus" as they forage in the bush of ghosts so as to more readily incant and communicate with the animal powers that be, coming across some tin toys in the middle of the mulch. "It's wonderful to think about tigers," as one title goes, where two of the Bears join in on the reverie. Most other times it is just Padden though, alone in his whispers, more honed and intoning in his approach, be it on harmonium, piano, acoustic bass, kazoo, or guitar. There are other historical strand weavings harmonizing together into this tapestry of his though, and in that he is never alone. He grasps past the legible edges of time in the way that Third Ear Band or Art Ensemble of Chicago (in their breath-space moments) would, to a raw earth music where the dead voices gather. While not exactly a suite, the music reflects this common ground, growing into each other, merging atmospheres and end times into new spaces, feeding and withdrawing their sounds as suits them, sharing tape hiss or piano reverberations in the process, the roots and branches comingled. The past is still alive, less repetitive and imitative, and more crossbred and permeable, a peculiar new strain of familiar sound twisted once again.

Copyright © 2002 Andy Beta e-mail address

© 2011 Luna Kafé