Broadway Project: One Divided Soul

Dan Berridge's fourth LP of cinematic downtempo will grab your undivided attention.

Broadway Project

One Divided Soul

Label: ODS Recordings
UK Release Date: 2008-11-10
US Release Date: Available as import

After toying with the idea of changing his name to what would become the title of his fourth album, UK shy guy and gamelan enthusiast Dan Berridge's One Divided Soul is a thankful addition to the talented young producer's already fine catalogue. Some three years in the making, much of the record is a welcome return to the mood-setting, vinyl-crackling instrumental hip-hop and sampled downtempo that made 2001's Compassion and it's 2003 follow-up The Vessel so cinematic and intriguing. Tracks like the quirky retro sci-fi bloop-hopper "Run 'Em Down" and the cymbal-riding, happily hypnotic "Seeds" do their part to lighten the mood and progress the Broadway Project sound in new directions, so much so that they are probably responsible for Berridge's hesitance in releasing the record under his usual moniker.

Despite the chipper moments, the pure guts of the record lay in big bass baroque numbers that out-Portishead their Third. "Keats" hits that mark with its chirping birds melding into synth twitters over a harpsichord and an oppressively compressed beat. The hand-clapping, slightly off kilter "Look Up" certainly does its part too, with a rich string sample, atmospheric space sounds, and crisp percussion. "The Wobble" is one of the weirdest moments, combining high and low art as a classic boom-bap rap beat does battle with "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies", usurped by a touch of old-school scratching and a warping bassline. "Graham" is up there, too, with a tipping beat coming in and out of time with a swinging, reversing gamelan sample, capturing the meditative quality of the Javanese musical practice. Collectively, these tracks more than justify the thankfully aborted name change.

Among the least Broadway Project-like tracks on the record, "Bar Room Brawl" was actually employed by Guinness for a television ad in late 2008. I can't ever recall Berridge using such a happy-go-lucky organ before, one that brightens up the upright bass and light jazz beat to a near finger-snapping jive. The organ defines the track, placing it among the most cheerful and most Propellerheads-like works he has yet released. To be honest, though, it really does sound like an advertisement jingle more than a track on an album I want to buy. Even with the floaty, sleepy "Seeds" and the manic "Run 'Em Down", "Bar Room Brawl" sticks out in a bad way.

It is a good thing that Berridge is trying to expand his palette, and his recent surge of commercial work supports that as well, but this record will probably not find a place in my heart next to the flawless concept album and his arguably finest work The Vessel. It seems a little forced at times. Not all of these tracks really needed to be Broadway Project tracks. That said, in time, the record's greatest moments will be that much greater, and the rare damp spots will be easier to skip. All Broadway Project albums age like fine wine. Like most fans of his first three records, I am happy to see the worthy One Divided Soul take its place in my collection alongside those amazing efforts.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.