Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mick Bassett, Berr Kerkey Sessions Volume II. December, 2006


(photo by Chris Bassett)

Bassett's Berr Kerkey Sessions Volume II, begins with some tinny percussion that fused into a dirge-like opener, “Baby, I'm Just A Man A' Means.” I was kicked off my seat when the first song started gaining momentum. Weird, non-melodic piano licks threw me off in the beginning, but finally a jazzy piano theme began to meld with the staunch percussion. Honestly, a bit awkward to hear at first, but I couldn't stop listening!

The first song set the tone for the rest of the album- bizarre jazz themes mixed with Bassett's (yes, I'm gonna say it) Dylan-esque voice. Or, to reference a Michigan artist (oh-so-much more appropriate), he has an element of Alec Jensen's vocal trade-marks. There's also a bit of early Pangram-era Jonathan Visgr thrown in the mix.

I sort of get the impression that Mick sat in a studio one day and played around with previously seeded ideas and came up with this ambiguously themed EP. “Haunt Me Clean” stood out as my favorite, and possibly the most accessible track. I'm curious as to the inspiration behind the reoccurring “circus” tracks, comprised of eerily generic organ-grinder melodies. It was a neat addition to the record. The sound of Berr Kerkey was incredibly different from my experience of seeing Mick perform live with a full band. Which, you know, is great. I like musical diversity within an artist.

I'll be honest. Some people won't dig this record. But I HIGHLY recommend tracking a copy down, and at least taking one listen. It was nothing less than captivating. Seriously, this was a refreshing side-step away from my indie-folk roots.

Mick Bassett
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Oct. 4 — Kraftbrau Brewery in Kalamazoo

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