England - Full Moon 76 - 12/19/02
The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden
Catsup Plate Records
Midway through This Heat's Deceit, Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, and Gareth Williams
nasally chant the line "History repeats itself" in cycles, reiterating the words until the true
nature of the line makes sense in the subconscious' black folds and becomes fully realized.
"Reee-Peee," the syllables interlock, recuring into reality, their meanings peeled and
re-converging as one, the sound world spiraling inwards with each repetition. Hayward once said
that hearing Robert Wyatt sing in that fragile, telltale Canterbury accent while drumming with
The Soft Machine in the '60's inspired him to trust his own voice in song in the latter part of
the 70's. Hear how his voice wavers to the surface for the first time in their drifting, infinitely
sad "Not Waving" off their first album, which matches the empathy of the similary-titled poem by
And so history repeats itself into the new millennium. Six and a half minutes into the
melancholic droning of Daniel Padden's "Remnant Kings," the intoning kazoo sounds, and it all
breaks into a hymn: "We rise and fall in time, Remnant Kings, of all our eyes." In an evolved,
yet not dissimilar style, this Volcano The Bear member's first solo outing, E Pluribus Unum-ly
titled The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden, the work and words of both Soft Machine and This
Heat come to mind. From a similar part of the English countryside of the aforementioned classic
groups, their most singular DNA and dialect is readily present in Padden's sound disposition.
What comes to the fore though, aside from their open senses of musical freedom and structuring,
is where these groups draw their inspiration, further into the past, beyond conventional Western
styles. As Wyatt loved playing with African musicians such as Mongezi Feza, and certain This Heat
tracks drew from tribal rhythms and instruments of the Liberian Vai or Ituri pygmies to create
that dreamy, hypnotic cycling, so too does Padden imbibe in the wistful/ whimsical folk sounds of
the dark continent, concocting a dreamy sensation not too far off from where the woozy palm wine
drunkard would sleep it all off.
Here one can imagine The Residents in their earliest taped incarnation, donning their hideously
carved Beatles masks on "Circus Homunculus" as they forage in the bush of ghosts so as to more
readily incant and communicate with the animal powers that be, coming across some tin toys in
the middle of the mulch. "It's wonderful to think about tigers," as one title goes, where two of
the Bears join in on the reverie. Most other times it is just Padden though, alone in his whispers,
more honed and intoning in his approach, be it on harmonium, piano, acoustic bass, kazoo, or guitar.
There are other historical strand weavings harmonizing together into this tapestry of his though,
and in that he is never alone. He grasps past the legible edges of time in the way that Third Ear
Band or Art Ensemble of Chicago (in their breath-space moments) would, to a raw earth music where
the dead voices gather. While not exactly a suite, the music reflects this common ground, growing
into each other, merging atmospheres and end times into new spaces, feeding and withdrawing their
sounds as suits them, sharing tape hiss or piano reverberations in the process, the roots and
branches comingled. The past is still alive, less repetitive and imitative, and more crossbred
and permeable, a peculiar new strain of familiar sound twisted once again.
Copyright © 2002 Andy Beta