The Grand Gestures – Second
The Grand Gestures are a collaborative project produced by Jan Burnett, featuring music with guest vocals and writers based in Scotland, giving their second album an astonishing range within a trance theme. As was the case with the initial album, Burnett created the music for Second before sending it to the guest vocalists, asking them to write their own melody and lyrics. The variety in each of the tracks does give the album an element of discontinuity and could be perceived as slightly jarring. Saying that, there is no denying the amount of talent and creativity oozing from each track, making the album both entertaining and intriguing.
Second sees the return of familiar names from the first album such as Jill O’Sullivan, Calamity Horse and Calamateur, and listening to their work, it is easy to understand why. Daybreak, easily one of the most powerful tracks, was vocalised by O’Sullivan. Though her voice is softer in Daybreak than here in There’s No Place Like Home, it instils a slightly more urgent vibe. It is impossible to avoid the renewed involvement of spoken word artist Sanjeev Kohli, whose rather odd strand of work gives the album new meaning. The Spree of Brian May is unfathomably strange and does throw a spanner in the flow of the other tracks. Possibly the most exciting new addition to the team is Bdy_Prts, who somehow manages to combine a form of modern plainchant with an enticing trance beat.
Second really fluctuates between the emotive and powerful and the unfortunately monosyllabic. Regret Is a Dish Best Served Cold by RM Hubbert and Life Is Okay by the returning Celie Byrne are both solid pieces of music, but such a minimal vocal range is a style not many can contend with easily. Another new face, Tom Doyle, opts for a similar style but somehow avoids the monotony of such bleak vocals, as his piece The Start of the Landslide is a gorgeous track that doesn’t render the listener in any way bored.
This collaborative effort can truly be described as unique, and despite the potential misunderstanding from some mainstream audiences, the art and effort that have gone into the project are to be admired. Each artist has managed to inject Burnett’s music with their own style, leaving the music as the sole common thread binding the album together in an extremely pure way.
Second is released on 7th October, but you can pre-order the album here.
Watch the video for Living By the Seaside here: