REVIEW: The Flying Dutchman - "Pathfinder"

By J 'Hirez' H-R

Chain Border

PathfinderThis is the soundtrack to an alternate reality. Imagine, if you will, a post-steampunk world where the industrious peoples of a United States of Europe travel the mighty autobahns between the intellectual centres of Prague, Heidelberg, Paris, Amsterdam and Oxford in shiny Tatra 603s. For one warm and almost hallucinogenic summer, this recording was playing everywhere you cared to listen...

Ah, whatever. Wishful thinking butters no parsnips, as my mother never said. This CD is very fine, though, and really does put me in mind of the time I drove down from Zoetemeer to Vlissingen... But if I'd had this to listen to, I'd have stopped more often to pay attention to both CD and scenery and probably missed my ferry.

The more I listen to this, the more I realize that there's a particularly European psychedelia at work - far more Doors of perception than the more rock & roll starting point that is Fear and loathing.

Good words for Pathfinder would probably include lush, dream-like, minimalist, kinetic and intriguing. Actually, I'm not too sure about intriguing - it's how you'd describe a repulsively-flavoured box of chocolates - but there's enough languid jazz malarkey going on here to make a chap wonder what the band had been listening to the night before they cut some of the tracks. I'm fairly sure they've been at the Weather Report, and they're probably no strangers to either Portishead or Dub Syndicate. All of which are good things.

This is a damn fine record, so it's slightly hard to know what to say about it because I can quite happily drift off with the thing, rather than string sensible words together in pleasing sentences. For instance, I really enjoy the clattery drum & bass circularity of Martial music radio, and One foot and Pathfinder(2) are both tunes from the missing channel that you'd have to rotate your wireless through 90 degrees to reality to receive. The echoing tannoy in Is your heart bring to mind the vast, deserted concourses of railway termini - or perhaps a Ballardian vision of a conceptual departure lounge for the trip into some other reality.

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