Adrian Lane is an artist and musician based in Leigh-on-Sea, a parish situated on the northern side of the estuary of the River Thames only a few miles from the open waters of the North Sea. Branches Never Remember is his third album on the Preserved Sound label and his second to prominently feature the unmistakable sounds of the bowed psaltery along with a menagerie of acoustic instruments – bowed and plucked guitar, banjo, zither, violin, glockenspiel, jangu, and piano – all tied together with a modern compositional approach and sparing use of technology.
Interestingly, Lane takes a similar approach to working on both visual art and music as his Preserved Sound bio explains: “Evolving as a reaction to the initially recorded melody of each piece, Branches Never Remember adopts the same symbiotic process Lane uses when painting – layering parts up,cutting them up and moving them around, until the finished result is achieved. Indeed, a painter by profession, Lane often works on music and paintings simultaneously.”
Perhaps time spent with Debbie Wiseman’s wonderful soundtrack to the Wolf Hall television series played a part in attuning my ear toward modern composition with a medieval motif, but this album’s Renaissance-like aura pulled me in immediately and held my rapt attention to the final note. Lane’s previous albums, Lights Are Very Deceptive at Night and The Answering Smile struck me as more about exploring sound, space, and texture than melody. On Branches Never Remember, however, the compositions are elegant, refined, and memorably melodic.
The commanding presence of Wil Proctor’s frame drum on selected tracks is another nice touch. On pieces like ‘Branches Never Remember’ and ‘No More Lost Chances’, it adds cinematic scope and depth. On others, such as ‘Dawn of an August Morning’, and ‘A Clear Stage and No Favor’, it drives the momentum of the narrative. Among these more dynamic tracks, Lane weaves in more introspective and tender moments with such wistful tunes as ”The Leaves Are Falling Early This Year’ and ‘The High Crooked Line’, or the lovely waltzing ‘September Sunrise’.
Listen to ‘Branches Never Remember’
The record arcs toward a satisfying emotional resolution hinted at by ‘Rewind the Belief’ and really driven home by ‘Hope Moves Forward’, a stunning piece that might have served as a fitting end to the album. But Lane perhaps realized it would be more compelling to leave the listener with a sense of anticipation rather than resolution and does just that with the closing pair of teasingly suspenseful tunes in ‘The Puzzle Begins’ and ‘The Discarded Key’. What comes next? We can only look forward to the next chapter in Lane’s artistic musical journey.
Listen to ‘Hope Moves Forward’
Branches Never Remember is available as a digital download or in a hand-assembled, limited edition CD package via the Preserved Sound Bandcamp store. It features original artwork by Lane himself.
See Adrian Lane’s visual art: http://www.estuarygallerycoop.com/adrian-lane.html