Tucker & Decomposed – Grey Onion (Vinyl)
It’s funny to think that this is Alexander Tucker’s first Latitudes session, as he’s always felt like a part of the Southern family. From being one of the driving forces behind the first release on Latitudes (Ginnungagap) to providing artwork, playing on the same bills or collaborating with musicians in our stable, Alex has also felt like a fellow walking the same path as us, and has been top of our list to do a session since we started the series.
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What Alex does is pretty close to musical alchemy. Carefully constructing and layering fully orchestrated pieces from deceptively simple beginnings using guitar, mandolin, cello and most importantly his voice. It’s his voice which has always set him apart from other psych/folk explorers for me: wonderfully English and simultaneously otherworldly, something of his humble and extremely thoughtful nature comes through his self-harmonising and often wordless refrains. Along with a playful sense of humour you can sense something quite melancholy at its core.
Live, watching Alex loop and build his work is never less than fascinating and this studio session has succeeded in capturing some of this subtle magic. And, as in many of his live performances, Alex has been well-served by the people with whom he collaborates. Here, Duke Garwood’s clarinet weaves around the brooding, building tracks, and towards slow-boiling crescendos while Harvey Birrell’s characteristically well-judged production never spills over into the consciousness of the listener.
The Latitudes session with Decomposed Orchestra makes a beautiful companion piece to Alex’s excellent albums on ATP – the open ‘anything goes’ format sees him explore much longer compositions and pushing himself in a more psychedelic / freak-out direction. This recording will no doubt serve as an important documentation of this point in the evolving opus of this incredibly talented performer and songwriter.