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Album Review: David Philips - December Wine (4 track tapes)

David Philips – December Wine (4 track tapes)

by on 9 January, 2013

in Album Reviews

David Philips is soon to release his new album December Wine (4 track tapes), something even he wasn’t expecting to do so soon as these actual recordings were originally intended as demo’s. They took shape back in Autumn 2012 based around some ideas, arrangements and instrumentation he wanted to experiment with. Nostalgic memories beckoned when he went in search of an old Tascam Portastudio 4 track Cassette Recorder but it was the actual recording process that changed everything…

“there was something very organic about the limitations the 4 track machine and the cassettes imposed on the recording. No easy editing, only 4 tracks to use, the sound, background hiss and tape compression, it all took me back to those days in my bedroom and my first experiments with music production. So I set about recording, enjoying the freedom and lack of self consciousness that comes with recording demos, knowing no one else would ever hear them… or so I thought. After recording the majority of the songs I was very surprised and excited by the results. I sent the demos to Jan at Black and Tan Records to see what he thought and he instantly agreed that the recordings had something special and said he would like to release them as the album. And so that’s how this album came to be in it’s finished form. A collection of new songs, started out as demos, recorded on a 4 track cassette machine made in the 80’s.”

The album sounds timeless in places a sense that is heightened by the nautical opener ‘A Sailor’s Song‘, the tight rhythmic playing and repetitive taps display a determination and drive in the character of the song which is matched by Philips’ voice whose bluesy vocals shine bright on this release. Variety abounds throughout without feeling dis-jointed, ‘Big Things‘ fringes somewhere between gospel and eastern influence which draws you in like a repeated mantra. Deft finger work comes to the fore on ‘Waiting on the Rain‘…not exuberant but vital and alive. That vitality doesn’t let up as he paints a beautiful canvas with the sweet and solemn instrumental ‘Ruby‘. ‘The Man In The Moon Looks Scared‘ is like a step back in time, it sounds like it’s straight out of some smoke filled late night joint from the late sixties, full drums and a great live feel. Foot-stomping and hand clapping feature courtesy of the infectious upbeat ‘ December Wine‘ and just as this project started in head space the album ends with the most demo sounding track of all: ‘Flamingo‘ with the rain falling in the background.

There is a genuine life-like quality backed up by sincerity and strength on December Wine (4 track tapes)…a lot of which has to do with the doors that were opened by recording the way David Philips has done but the talent and grace is all his own, his best to date!

Stream the Album

David Philips – December Wine (4 track tapes) is released on Back and Tan records on February 4, 2013
Buy it from Amazon

Tour Dates

Febr 15, Utrecht (NL), Ramble On @ Kargadoor
Febr 16, Brussels (B), houseconcert
Febr 19 (afternoon), Tilburg (NL), Sounds (in-store concert)
Febr 19 (evening), Tilburg (NL), StuKaFest
Febr 20, Zevenaar (NL), Filmhuis
Febr 22, Haren (B), Toogenblik
Febr 23, Oostburg (NL), The Lane
Febr 24, Nieuweschans (NL), De Oude Remise
Febr 25 (morning), Winschoten (NL), recording FolkEnZo @ Dollard Radio
Febr 25, (evening) Bergen op Zoom (NL), Crossroads Acoustic @ Zwijnshoofd
Febr 26 (afternoon), Rotterdam (NL), Live uit Lloyds / RTV Rijnmond
Febr 26 (evening), Heerlen (NL), Cultuurhuis
Febr 27, Eindhoven (NL), ‘t Rozenknopje
Febr 28, Moorslede (B), De Nodige Deugd
March 1, Waardamme (B), Cowboy Up
March 2, Maastricht (NL), Magisch Theatertje
March 3, Amen (NL), Cafe de Amer
March 5, Den Bosch )NL), Blue Room Sessions @ Verkadefabriek
March 6 (afternoon), Enkhuizen (NL), recording for Americana Radio
March 6 (evening), Amsterdam (NL), Songlines Live @ Kapitein Zeppos
March 7, Norderstedt (D), Music Star
March 10, Wijk aan Zee (NL), Timboektoe
March 11, Kontich (B), De Wipschutter
March 12, Nijmegen (NL), Ramble on Tuesday @ Cafe Trianon
March 14, Haacht (B), Bastide
March 15, Heerlen (NL), Southern Blues Night
March 16 (afternoon), Venlo (NL), Sounds (in-store concert)
March 16 (evening), Bakkeveen (NL), Muziekpodium Bakkeveen @ Slotplaats
March 19, Trier (D), Brauners Blues Corner @ Brunnenhof
March 20, Dillenburg (D), GoLittleSong @ Erbse
March 21, Miltenberg (D), Beavers
March 22 – 31, Switzerland tour
May 30, London (UK), The Raven & the Blues
May 31, Uttoxeter (UK), The Acoustic Festival of Britain


Photo Credit: Nicholas Talvola

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