CD Review

Nick Grey & the Random Orchestra - “Regal Daylight”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Nick GreyYou have to appreciate the chutzpah of a disc offering the disclaimer "Please don't play this record on Sundays," and finding validation out the gate with a twisted bastardization of Ave Maria. In other words, don't say Nick Grey didn't warn you. As refreshingly anomalous as they come, prepare yourself for a cheeky walk down the weird side. The Romanian prodigy gathers a tribe of world players around him, including metal guitarist Chuck Thrill, to produce a strange but opulent recording, Regal Daylight.

Look Like Moses incorporates the operatic tenor samples of Vasile Molodoveanu to compliment Nick Grey's electronics and baritone vocal struts, complete with his "random" players, an orchestra made of traditional instruments that operate as advertised; instead of cohesively working together as a fluid unit of continuity, each instrument gets separate jobs from one another. For instance Shaman Doria's clarinet operates near-independently on Song for Wyatt, as does the brass section that jumps in at the song's end and not with any particular precision. That is not to say they're a bunch of fuck-ups; once one has gotten used to Nick Grey's decidedly experimental and often farcical style, which does allow for precision (the bullet-like duality of Chuck Thrill's playful and dirty guitars on Intruders (Upon the Family Grief) for instance), one begins to understand where Grey is coming from.

The classical piano structure from Jasmine Pinkerton delivers as much melancholic heart-tugging as David Banner's fadeout notes on the TV Hulk series as Grey spews impious scathings directed more towards world leaders than he does sect leaders, which he lambastes throughout the project such as on the brief parting shot of Weeping Chipsets, Workshop Mess. Or take the morose message delivered through Grey's mantra of, "We never grew," on (You Can't Spell) Parachute Drops, an attention-getting ode to depression that is given juice on the ensuing Structure and Faith, which moves forward with a steady tempo to guide Grey's fugue which at this point finds his players merging harmoniously to produce an outraged blackness that quiets down for Jasmine Pinkerton's glum, but poignant, return on the weepy November Fadeline.

Grey ambitiously tackles William Blake's Gwin, King of Norway on the nine-minute epic Obedient Fathers, which ropes in his ensemble at its most lethal capacity including Peter "Bongo" Makonnen's (also doubling on bass throughout the disc) opening percussion, coupled by ethereal background vocals, and oddly enough this highly surreal track takes on a Bowie-esque psychedelia that really challenges the listener. But hang out a while; the song pays off during the rockout section.

Eccentrically Goth as a Nothing album given a classical bath and an acid rinse, Regal Daylight can put off those without an open mind. Those with one will undoubtedly praise Grey's unconventional brilliance, one particularly for a freshman release. One of the most excitingly bizarre concepts to come along in awhile, Regal Daylight won't escape your mind quite so easily.

Contact Information:
Sensitive Records
Post: 25, Boulevard de Belgique, 9800, Monaco, France
Phone: +33 (682) 189 168