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Nat Baldwin

Enter the Winter

(Broken Sparrow; US: 2005)

Freeflowing, untethered pop songs underpinned with violin, trumpet, cello, and lots of string bass make up the core of this second song-structured album from jazz-improviser Nat Baldwin.  With a voice somewhere between Karl Blau and Jeff Buckley, Baldwin lays hallucinatory vocal textures over abstract instrumental textures, creating genuine drama in the album-stopping “Enter the Light Out”.  More experimental cuts—a sleighbell meditation called “Spells”, and the moody, meditative acoustic bass ramble of “X-Factor”—showcase Baldwin’s free music credentials, while quick bowed “Into the Night” feels at once baroquely classical and like an Elephant Six song held underwater.  It’s the kind of perfect style cross you’d expect from a guy who’s played with Tigersaw and studied with Anthony Braxton.

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Tagged as: nat baldwin
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4 May 2008
Baldwin receives major points for style and innovation, but occasionally does so at the expense of tunefulness and palatability.
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