Hints of African high life, British folk, free-improvisation, Brazilian spirituals and blue eyed soul gracefully come together in Doug Tielli‘s second release, Keresley. The record is a wide spray of textures, dynamics and styles and feels unified by Doug’s fluid voice and musicianship. Voice, guitar, percussion and brass don’t just outline a melody, they resonate as one with grace and simplicity. Doug Tielli uses his songs to translate the natural and the un-natural world around him.
These translations have become the sonic environment of Keresley, named after the village-come-suburb Keresley, on the outskirts of Coventry, England, where after a short U.K. tour, Doug took up temporary residence after missing a flight back to his home in Toronto. He spent the next two months walking a dog, drawing, dreaming, and recording this album. The sounds and songs of Keresley are as natural and unlaboured as the world Doug Tielli describes:
“The magic of Keresley is not on the surface. Those fields under all kinds of skies are always wondrous. The grass got long, and filled with wildflowers, and red-purple grasses, the sky rolled with low, heavy clouds, and occasionally sun, flitted with birds. Fathers and sons, old Scotsmen … everyone with a dog … would share a few words and stories with me from time to time.
When the grass was tall enough – in June or so, I lay down, fully hidden to any who passed by … though I did worry that I would be spotted somehow, and thought unusual – which I am and am not at the same time, you know what I mean.”
The music on Keresley is like all of this and that – both unusual and familiar. It sounds like many different worlds, but is really just one world seen through different kaleidoscopes of perception. The songs also seem to come from a deep internal communication – dreams, the unconscious, the network of creativity – a sense of wonder in how things have come to be. Of a couple of the songs on Keresley, Doug writes:
“… sometimes songs come out and I just let them be. I have no fixed memory of where some songs come from … sometimes I am not too sure what the words mean either … I like that ambiguity – when I have no fixed idea of what something means, I can interact with it freshly, from the same place as someone hearing it for the first time, or even just as sound…”
“The words came to me first thing in the morning after a night of sleeping and singing the tune all night long – a stream of consciousness tale – the coming to be of a man-earth being, and his dissolution and reconsumation by the elements, by the forest. A jumble of the cosmic cycle.”
Somehow through going on walks in a suburb, of a mid-sized city in two of the rainiest months in recent history in England, we are transported through history and geography, from Africa, to America, to the 50’s, to folk music immemorial, to the free jazz of the 60’s, abstract prickly sounds, and warm grooviness, and unknown South American Spiritual hymns. Doug Tielli has made a very a human record, one that speaks of a love of the landscape and those who walk upon it.
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