Adem | DNO33 | Released: 07/12/04

Image: homesongs

How to explain this extraordinary record? What to say to capture the sheer understated beauty of its conception and realisation? How to convey that - against the odds - another ex-member of Fridge has delivered a record every bit human, complete and utterly unique as Kieran Hebden/Four Tet's breakthrough album Rounds? In common with Four Tet, there are apparent similarities in methodology here. Both records display a meticulous devotion to detail that would be verging on the nerdy were it not for the amazing emotional power they are able to harness through this Faberge egg of sonic filigree. Both records feel like they were made in the early hours of the morning (which is by and large when they were made). And both construct their own worlds of sound so fully-formed and convincing that it seems implausible that these places could've remained hidden for so long. There, however, the similarities end.

For a start Homesongs is full of the human voice. It seems remarkable that when Adem (say Ah-dem) and Kieran were in Fridge it was deemed an instrumental project because "none of [them] could sing." Adem started singing in earnest in early 2002, and having made two tracks and found his voice decided to think of himself as a singer. It was a good decision. Now the rich brown-ish timbres of his voice recalls all manner of timeless singers nuanced throughout. Here a shading of - is it? - John Martyn, or maybe one of the Tims (Buckley? Hardin? Rose?), even perhaps a hint of early, pre-bombast Springsteen in his cracked and tired delivery, and what about Shane McGowan? Paul Buchanan? Aidan Moffat? Nick Drake? Young Tom Waits?. "I decided to be honest," Adem says. "That was the only was I could be convinced and convincing." Now on Homesongs he has emerged as an expressive singer who can tend towards making everyone else seem crass and over-wrought.

All told, Homesongs has the feel of an instant classic. As a bookend to Rounds it could be thought of as a folktronica record without the tronica, except that it couldn't accurately be called a folk record either. What it is is sad, warm, hopeful, delicate, human, over-reaching and yet essentially small. By narrowing his scope to the simple stuff of life, Adem has been able to make a kind of accidental conceptual record built up from "notes to self" about the people and places he holds dear.


Image: homesongs

CD-DNO-033 | Out now

Add to cart: $12.00
  • 01. Statued
  • 02. Ringing In My Ear
  • 03. Cut
  • 04. Gone Away
  • 05. These Are Your Friends
  • 06. Everything You Need
  • 07. Long Drive Home
  • 08. Pillow
  • 09. One In A Million
  • 10. There Will Always Be