NED COLLETTE's last album, the 2LP set Old Chestnut, was hailed as a masterpiece by 'most everyone who heard it. Part of this was due to the darkly delicate lyrics and vocals of Ned himself (akin to the work of Graeme Jefferies, ca. This Kind of Punishment), but much was also due to the elegant lyricism of the music, which had a fantastic prog/folk heft as impossible to peg as it was to ignore.
With this new LP, Collette (an Australian ex-pat, now based in Berlin) goes all-instrumental, along with his long-time drumming partner, JOE TALIA (fellow ex-pat, now in Tokyo), and composer JAMES RUSHFORD (also from Australia) on viola. The two, side-long tracks are a departure from the pop formatting of Old Chestnut, but an expansion of that album's instrumental passages, playing with a syncretic fusion of several genres, while remaining beholden to none. Talia—who has been working with Collette for over a decade, but is perhaps best known in the U.S. as Jim O'Rourke's drummer of choice—uses synths and tapes, apart from his deft touch with the tubs. Rushford's work on viola is as idiosyncratic as you'd expect, given the evidence of his recordings with Ora Clementi, Food Court, and others. Rushford does opt for more standard tactics in spots, but his approach to long tones is not always clearly wrought by human hands. Collette's playing on guitar, synth, bells and drum machine combines a clear affinity with the trope of both 'new music,' and also with the artfully wrought dream-hybrids of Old Chestnut's musical textures. This means that while the music on Afternoon-Dusk may not be as immediately engaging, it also scratches some of the same itches as Old Chestnut and will definitely reward listeners who spend time with its soaring sonic inventions. The aspirations of Afternoon-Dusk are monumental, neo-symphonic and spectacularly successful. You have been warned! - Byron Coley, 2019