Francis Harris: Minutes Of Sleep (2xLP, Scissor & Thread, March 2014)

The opening track here couples a mournful modern classical style piano and cello with a big low-key sort of dub-techno beat and rumbling atmospherics. Just near the end a jazzy trumpet line seeps into the mix. It was pretty much inevitable that I was going to fall in love with this. The second track brings the trumpet to the fore, the combination reminding me of Ki-Oku, the collaboration between instrumental hip-hop producer DJ Krush and jazz trumpeter Toshinori Kondo, which I also fell in love with back in 1998. After that, things settle down to a slightly more conventional mode, with more beat-driven tracks somewhere on the line between dub-techno and deep-house. (By the way, did I ever mention that I’m really bad at genres?) There are even some vocals on a couple of tracks. But choice of instrumentation — trumpet, cello, and piano, and credit should go to the talents of Greg Paulus, Emil Abramyan, and Brendan Golle respectively — stays pleasingly constant, as does the laid-back, gently mournful mood. (I normally avoid biographical references, preferring to talk about the music, but I feel I should note that Harris’ mother died just before he started work on this album, which is prominently dedicated to her.) The final track, intriguingly titled Dangerdream (How Che Guevara’s Death And Bob Dylan’s Life Milit), is a sort of concrète collage, combining the most abstract composition of the record with a variety of samples and a half-audible spoken word piece in (I think) Spanish, a suitable end to such a quietly inventive album. I just adore the sonic world Harris has created, I think I could live here.

I bought this from Juno. They call it Deep House.

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