QUIET VILLAGE - 'Silent Movie'



Quiet Village is a collaboration between Matt Edwards, AKA house impressario Radio Slave, and Joel Martin, who had a hand in putting together Bite Hard, a sampler of 1970s library music from De Wolfe. The resulting album, Silent Movie is an arresting mix of slow disco, soul, house, synth and prog rock as well as echoing the cinematic qualities of library at its best.

The danger here is that they tread a fine line between the genuinely clever and the cheesily generic. There are moments where they almost allow their exquisite use of source material to out manoeuvre their own additions, treatments and edits. This is best appreciated as music to be played in that brief period between club-comedown and rain-lashed drive home in a taxi through sulphurously lit streets.

'Victoria's Secret' opens the proceedings in a romantically inclined swoon with a sampled string and oboe section whilst the sound effects of waves crashing and seagulls calling flit across the soundstage. Then a deep, humming female vocal swathes you as the sweet strings lull you into a reverie of rocky California beaches and surf. It's very beautiful and highly camp in its ability to conjure up everything from 'From Here To Eternity' to cheap romantic pot boilers like 'Tim'.

A key track is 'Circus Of Horrors' which is quite atypically going for the Italian horror soundtrack meets psych rock pastiche. What sounds like a train pulls in (or is it just a synth wail) and some psych rock guitar churns repeatedly. And then...distorted and treated flute gives way to a huge scream and yell followed by bluesy backing vocals. It's a weird blend of prog rock, John Cameron library funk a la Psychomania which ends with chanting vocals and fluttering flutes adding to the cycling guitar and drum crescendos. Quite fabulous and likely to be used in a film coming to a cinema near you.

'Free Rider' loops a harmonic vocal with a strangely treated vocal line that sounds like a strangled cat. There's a lot of sound effects of people at a party having a bit of a jolly whilst acoustic guitar samples fall over each other. It sounds like something out of 'Beyond The Valley of The Dolls' with added breakbeats, wife swapping and fondues and...er...cackling laughter.

One of my favourites, 'Too High To Move' is all piano riffs, more crashing waves, a loop of some woman pissing herself with laughter and glasses clinking to add to a Beverley Hills type vibe. A vocal tells the story of a bad man who does the dirty on a good woman. A delicious piano refrain tumbles along, with pumping bass and drum, a gorgeous swirling synth backdrop and then a break with brass - it sounds a bit like the 'Shoestring' theme - with a following solo trumpet passage. A slow disco stunner.

'Pacific Rhythm' will raise a smile with its sweet confection of reggae guitar, drum and piano trot, spacey synth strings and a Sister Sledge breathy female soul vocal. It chugs along with an infectious glee. A heavily treated male vocal joins in, sounding a bit like something that Air would probably do, and it jams with the galloping funk.

Soft funky guitar and Hammond organ clip in with an aching string sample on 'Broken Promises'. A brass melody takes over and the track then plunges into a quiet organ section, with more waves, a glissando of percussion and then we get a sinister whistling..yep, whistling. It's akin to something Billy Goldenberg might do for 'MacMillan And Wife' or 'Columbo' but with a disco slant.

There's a creative use of the Alan Parsons Project in the sampling for 'Pillow Talk' and it gets rather guitar prog in the middle complete with whooshes of white noise and synths. Likewise part of the string section of 'Days Of Pearly Spencer' is stretched, slowed and twisted for 'Can't Be Beat' with its dreamy cycle interrupted by some vari-speed vocals that do tend to channel Barry White on valium. Nice bubbling synths working away, Moroder like, underneath it all do compensate as do the funky guitar bits.

'Gold Rush' is Tangerine Dream synth washes, circa Phaedra, with psych rock guitar passages and a speeding up, slowing down tempo. Very atmospheric. And 'Singing Sand' wouldn't sound out of place on 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' as it's complete with treated, distorted vocals, pumping bass and a tribal percussion with a delicious drum and piano break. 'Utopia' is a triumphant reworking of new age synth confections from the likes of Vangelis or the harp whimsy of Andreas Vollenweider but this sampling trips over and over itself and meshes with a whooshy blast of white noise. It's captivating and really very kitsch.

The album climaxes with more seagulls and surf, harp and Hammond and treated drum track with lilting strings. 'Keep On Rolling' even comes with a vocal sample that suggests the same and you can also imagine the end titles rolling at this point on some imaginary movie.

A dreamy, kitschy confection with Italian film soundtracks blurring into Tangerine Dream and Moroder electronics, Chi-lites soul mixing with rock, orchestral lounge music and stuttering beats. It might be accused of wearing its influences too well and coming off as one more DJ set recorded for posterity but I reckon most of this will get picked up by advertisers, film companies and television stations as the ultimate accompaniment to their product whilst it still retains an experimental, cut-up edge. Essential summer listening.

Quiet Village - Silent Movie (iK7 Records K7225CD Released 28th April 2008)

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