For six fingered inbreds living in remote parts of the Isle of Wight or in Austrian cellars, keeping it in the family goes with the territory. For Simon Lord of Simian and Black Ghosts fame, incestuous tendencies might not be his cup of tea, but under the eponymous guise of Lord Skywave he adds a sixth string to his bow by, well, keeping it in the family. Confused? You needn’t be. Lord’s latest release, simply draws on three generations of family creativity and performance starting with his Grandmother, Madeleine Dring, an accomplished composer who perfected her craft at the Royal College of Music. Her Son, Simon’s Dad Jeremy, went on to invent the Lord Skywave, one of the first ever British built synthesisers, and of the ten in existence, Simon is just one proud owner using it to full effect, by combining his Fathers hardware with his Grandmothers compositions and his own style of leftfield electronica. The end result is simply stunning.
The album starts with Lord paying homage to his Dad’s pioneering electro wizardry with a declaration of intent through the slow stylized chic beats and loops of ‘My Name Is Lord Skywave’. Its mismatched post party drug addled fuzz and fluidity imposingly and uncompromisingly peppers the entire album, adding varying levels of depth to his creations depending on both placement and objective. Either way, its certainly not the kind of sound you’d expect to hear alongside a piece of his Gran's forty year old chamber music, but surprisingly it effortlessly slips into the beautifully crafted ‘Slow Movement (From Trio For Oboe, Piano And Flute’) and ‘Dialogues (From Trio For Oboe, Bassoon And Piano)’ complete with subtle electro underlay, which are both structured with all the elegance and intricacies of a classical ballet and again, but perhaps more violently throughout the two-step garage Hackney love song ‘Idyll (Just Like)’.
Lord’s use of classical music alongside the unmistakable Lord Skywave synth fuzz encourages light and dark to work side by side, as does his own dab hand at mixing soul, pop and R n B with innovative contemporary urbanity. The sheer summer drenched vocal brilliance of ‘Everybody’ is immediately countered by the knuckle dragging unease of ‘I Am A Dead Man’ complete with an equally perfect lyric that warns “Spit on my street and you spit on my grave”. It’s an album that keeps you guessing and the two-step ska infused haze of ‘Half Forgotten (Keep The Best Bits)’ alongside the stripped back R n B pop structured rawness of ‘Something’ and the standout sunshine splendour of the jazz anchored ‘Maybe I Need To’ further add to Lord’s growing credit and keep the album fresh, constantly chopping and changing and anything but banal.
The album concludes with the musing piano of ‘Pavane’ yet another take on a Grandma Dring track, a woman who like her Grandson, broke the rules of composition and reaped the rewards. If you like your music raw, refined, inventive and persistently unyielding, this eleven tracks of pure listening pleasure is a must.