Nat Baldwin - People Changes
Double bass driven pop is not something you come across very often. So I offer you a gingerly welcome into the world of bassist Nat Baldwin. "People Changes" is a haunting set of seven hermetic tunes, often featuring Baldwin's falsetto backed only by his alternately insistent and somber double bass. Would these songs have the same nourish romance without the instrument? Probably. But Baldwin's brittle genius on the instrument both highlights his surreal sad lyrics and overcomes any vocals falters.
Though on songs like "Real Flakes" and "What is There " there are improvised solos that approach free jazz or some of the more out explorations of Baldwin's former band, the Dirty Projectors, the bass maneuvers through the strict confines of the pop song. "A Little Lost," "The Same Thing" and others can't help but have a baroque, art song feel, which gives them their power. It is almost impossible to hear a double bass, cello or viola without being taken into a reflective space, and Baldwin applies his instrument, with occasional accompaniment by woodwinds. "Lifted" and "Let My Spirit Rise," employ a more or less full band and, while in context, seem at first to be letdowns, solos such as the one on "Lifted," in which drums, sax, and clarinet join Baldwin in a precise freakout, the genius of his compositional style show. These would be difficult but raw and honest tunes no matter the instrumental lineup."People Changes" is Nat Baldwin's fourth solo release, and his baroque, Outsider pop is as rich and challenging as ever. There is something uncompromising that gives these simple tunes their power, and Baldwin, as writer and double bassist, knows how to exploit the power of his vision to memorable effect.
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