Monday, 5 August 2013

Introducing: The Music of Ian Thistlethwaite

As so often, it started with an e-mail from Paul Foster, aka Dementio13, urging me to check out some great music.  I find this a particularly engaging trait of some artists: they're imbued with such honesty and integrity (which invariably comes out in their work) that they happily help me to find other music they suspect I'll enjoy, despite knowing that my shows are always attempts to cram about eight hours of great music into three and therefore running the risk of squeezing themselves out of the playlist.

As it was, I happily found room for a track from Dementio13's new album and something from Ian Thistlethwaite too, whose work it was that I was recommended to seek out.  As usually, my source was trustworthy.  Ian plays a brand of bewitching indie folk that manages to sound both timeless and contemporary.

Around twenty or so years ago, I had a habit of spending part of my summer checking out England's various folk festivals.   On one of these sojourns a member of my cohort sagely opined that to be successful in this area of music you either had to be a startlingly expressive musician or a brilliantly imaginative songwriter: without either of these, folk sounded unremarkable and ordinary.  I felt this was a sound judgement, which is probably why I still remember it today.  It struck me, however, that the really great folk artists had to have both, and Ian Thistlethwaite makes it into this extremely rare category.

His album Mocking Tudors, Not Turtles came out in June and can be purchased as Name-Your-Price from his bandcamp site.  It was this album I was directed to by Paul and from which I play a track in my August Dandelion Radio show.  I've opted for the mesmerising '(Dance Me To) The Mezzanine', partly because it kind of conjurs up memories of watching Blowzabella on a Saturday afternoon in Towerzy, in a performance that was so good it even made me forget to check the footie results (very rare, believe me), but mainly because it has an utterly singular quality that makes you discard such comparisons as soon as you've made them and realise that what you have here is something so magical it rises well above its loose ancient form and stands out very much on its own.

Since then, Ian has put out A Brief Introduction to Ian Thistlethwaite on that same bandcamp site, a compilation that, as the title suggests, collects together various nuggets from his past.  The compilation includes 'Up In The Attic (Yeah, Yeah)', which features samples from Dementio13 and 'Hey! This is Wim Oudijk', which features samples from, guess who?  Yes, Wim Oudijk.  That Ian has teamed up with such wonderful people gives something away in itself, not merely that he keeps very fine musical company but also some indication of how much he's committed to stretching the limits of the form in which he works.

Get the album, listen to the show (which contains much amazing stuff besides the artists mentioned here) and keep up with what Ian's up to on Soundcloud.   Many future delights are anticipated.

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