“Magnesium”: A Welcome Change Of Pace To The Loud And Proud Music Landscape Of Today

Review

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To both listeners and creators, music can often be hectic and overwhelming.

 

The onslaught of new releases and the pressures of staying on top of the day’s trends add to that, turning music into yet another chore, a price to pay in order to be “with it all”.

 

David Clayton can help with that.

 

Magnesium, the nine-track fusion of mellow pianistic melancholia, brooding synths and jazzy interludes by the former Simply Red member, is a departure from Clayton’s past efforts, standing as a welcome change of pace to the loud and proud music landscape of today.

 

Clayton is certainly no stranger to world of high-end music production: During and after his keyboardist career with British pop greats Simply Red, his craft led him to work with David Bowie, U2, Depeche Mode and Robbie Williams, to name but a few of the legends he’s collaborated with.

 

Add to that impressive history a slew of funk LPs created with spatial audio expert Marco Perry under the name Pressurezone, and Clayton’s first solo effort promises to be exciting or, at the very least, interesting.

 

And it is.

 

Ignore obvious digs at the album’s slow-moving bar-pianist melodies – Clayton delivers nine sublime and relaxing tracks, while dipping his toes into neighbouring genres like ambient, jazz and synth-pop in the process.

 

The album’s eponymous starting track sets the stage for a calm forty-odd minutes, yet this initial tone is soon succeeded by surprisingly in-depth explorations of Clayton’s varied musical history.

 

Stand-outs here are Bring It Back, a synthy, dark affair with its foreboding bass plucks, given light and texture by Clayton’s brief piano interludes, and Destiny, a 2 8 1 4-worthy trip through an echoing, futuristic cityscape.

Sherbet, the album’s closing track – a collaboration with former Simply Red colleague and saxophonist Ian Kirkham – comes on unexpectedly but is solid, if a bit short-lived.

 

Clayton takes a supporting role in the backseat, letting Kirkham off the leash with unchallenging, yet perfectly sound jazz.

 

Sherbet transcends the piano- and synth-dominated previous tracks, leaving the listener wanting for more.

 

And, after all, that is one of the best things that can be said about an album.

This review was written by Julian Lehnert,  a long-time journo with a passion for music, literature and the arts, and a keen eye for a great story. Find him on Twitter or tune into his weekly radio show on Brisbane’s 4EB

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