Thursday, 4 April 2013

In session this month: Long Hat Pins

Long Hat Pins is the work of Tim Kelly, an Everton supporter who until recently lived in Salford.  I mention this not merely as biographical information but because throughout the work of this fascinating artist it's a recurring feature: not Salford or Everton, but a certain dissonance, a finding of the unexpected within the familiar and the familiar within the unexpected.  More importantly, his work is utterly unique.

I first discovered the music of Long Hat Pins when I arrived home from a New Year's break on 2 January 2012 to find a message in my inbox from Tim.  He'd introduced himself, without any bluster or promotional blurb - which is always a good sign - and included an mp3 of a track called 'That's Not The World'.  In another artist's hands the refrain of 'That's Not The World' would have been overdone and overcooked, its magic rendered obsolete by a song's over-dependence on this single pleasing feature.

Tim Kelly is not such an artist and Long Hat Pins is not such a project.  Instead the track was embellished with a cut-up interview from Tim Buckley, whatever conventional instrumentation that lay beneath transformed and bent into all manner of pleasing musical shapes and what resulted was nothing less than a brilliantly listenable sound treatise on appearance and reality that would've made Bertrand Russell realise he needed to get out more.

Now he's recorded his first session for my Dandelion Radio show (Long Hat Pins, that is, not Bertrand Russell) and it's unsurprisingly wonderful.  The four tracks do as much as four tracks can do in representing his remarkable musical range.  'Excess Baggage' and 'Handful of Heart' are from the guitar-based end of his broad spectrum, a place where you suspect a folk singer might hang his hat but where what actually resides is something between the aforementioned Buckley, the spirit of Beefheart and Bryan MacLean if he'd been more like Arthur Lee had really wanted him to be.  'Marsha's Long Blond Beauty' heavily samples Richard Brautigan reading his own poem, something which, in the very able hands of Long Hat Pins, is just the starting point for another magical musical journey,

But, as musical journeys go, they don't come any more magical than in the remaining track, 'The Grip', a deceptively lightly touched sonic extravaganza which finds Long Hat Pins in a realm within which the experimental and the melodic cohabit in a union of conflicting elements which, let's face it, is something that all truly great music has somewhere at its heart.  See a Youtube video of the track at

And this is truly great music.  Find more of it at the Long Hat Pins Bandcamp site, where you can grab his first two EPs for free.   The session will also be getting a release on the site soon after it finishes its run in my Dandelion Radio show during April, at which point I hope you'll have joined me in absorbing every note of this collection into your brain, soul and whatever else you've got for it to find its way inside.

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