EWR1 –James Green – Tempers – Reviews
A mini-album of maximal pleasure. For his first solo CD, James Green presents fourteen pieces, none longer than two minutes, and all apparently captured on tape with the first or second take. Each is an elegant, unflawed pearl coaxed out of his acoustic guitar, nearly Satiean in simplicity of execution and depth of expression. Both the playing and the mood hearken back to the English folk revival of the early sixties, but the feeling is timeless. Gentle, winsome tunes which do indeed invoke the cosy melancholy of early winter.
Losing Today Magazine
Wide open spaces, the rolling hills of nature’s green quilt fencing off a picturesque village hideaway of rows upon rows of century old thatched cottages untouched by commercialism, uncluttered and detached from the hustle and bustle of the fast lane. The tranquillity broken momentarily by the sound of the local church bell marking another day no different from any other day where calm, well being and the simple life are the order of things. These are the images conjured by ‘Tempers’.
Another of those ultra limited CD releases. This time only 250 pressings of this delicate debut for Sheffield’s newly installed Early Winter Recordings whose aim it is with future outings is to release a host of neo psychedelic / free folk artists into the public domain.
Housed in a dainty hand painted slipcase ‘Tempers’ is the debut solo release for label owner James Green he of the Big Eyes themselves regular featurettes of these pages. ‘Tempers’ consists of fourteen improvised compositions recorded between May / June of last year on a classical / nylon string guitar. Each composition was recorded within two takes; any tracks failing that self-imposed proviso were excluded immediately from the recordings. No track titles I’m afraid but fans of Big Eyes will notice the contrast in sounds immediately. Whereas Big Eyes are better known for their noire-ish symphonies, Green lightens the moods with these delicate though brief rustic adventures into an unworldly rural life.
The amazing thing about this release is that despite there being no lyrics, no mixing trickery where subtle atmospherics are incorporated, it’s frailty and sparseness are overt, bear in mind that Green is only armed with a lone classical guitar and that’s your lot, then what he manages to achieve is quite remarkable, that feeling of warmth and depth that strikes at odds when you consider the bare naked confines of the recording process. Reference wise the drifting appeal of John Williams and John Fahey are by and large apparent the latter so ably apparent on Track 3 while the former best served on the thoughtfully tranquil Track 9 and the delectable slow burning closing cut. Fans of Charlie Parr, the Relict, Low and the early material by Death Cab for Cutie will not go wanting while the purists among you will swoon. Green deliberately keeps from over elaborating, each of the cuts here barely stretch beyond 2.40 (with the exception of the clockwork like dynamics on Track 12 at 4.02) by keeping it as such the spectral appeal of the melodies don’t out stay their welcome and prove to conjure enough nimble allure to keep the most casual spectator in awe. Exquisite stuff.
Plan B Magazine
Tempers’ cover is a delicate lino-print of flowers and a windmill, reminiscent of Thirties British pastoral art. The music treads a similar ground between experimental and traditional, and it’s a luminescent, shadowy, magical ground.
Green recorded Tempers on a two-track last summer, and the resonant warmth of wood and strings echoes a sense-memory of sunbeams through a slanted window. It starts with a chromatic strangeness and restless intervals, and hits pockets of conventional melody and blues before dancing back into abstraction again. Green uses the guitar’s upper register and its fragile, creepy timbre to create a weirdly modest and suggestive sonic space that bypasses the slightly autistic nature of much acoustic guitar playing to produce something beautifully ephemeral. Oh, this music breathes like a breeze blowing your bright blue dress on the washing line.