Quixotic (Bella Union)
Al Brooker's debut solo release will also be his last; he died on stage at the Strawberry Fair in Cambridge on June 3rd 2000. He was the guitarist with the band Gwei-lo and their debut mini album was about to be released, a sad tale indeed.
This could easily have been an exercise in milking a tragic story, by simply throwing a hatful of Brooker's songs together, without a thought for quality or integrity. Thankfully that is not the case. Bella Union have done a fine job. Everything about the album has an air of reverence and is put together, simply and sympathetically.
The songs are an eclectic bunch, ranging from dub influenced instrumentals, to hip-hop infused, sample enhanced playfulness. The few tracks that contain vocals are almost ghost like in delivery and conjure up a vision of the lone musician, totally immersed in his art.
With no marketing or promotional push, this album may not be heard by many, but the few that do hear it will cherish it for what it is, a fine bunch of songs, released in their purest form. 7/10
Reviewed By Mark Mason
29th of August 2002
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