Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nat Baldwin - People Changes

(Western Vinyl, 2011)

The grace of a new Nat Baldwin album means that 2011 is now, officially, a good year for music. That’s how I consider it anytime the man let something loose. That’s how I consider People Changes.

What I’d add is that People Changes develops from what we’ve come to expect of Baldwin—an acoustically lush bass-centric album filled with rich, sideways pop music—into a melting pot of that same-said pop with more avant garde elements (harkening back to his debut, Solo Contrabass).

The extreme of that experimental push is “What Is There,” the penultimate track on People Changes, which layers Baldwin’s bass-work on top of itself to produce a tangled beauty not dissimilar to some of Sean McCann’s recent work, though quite unique in and of itself. It’s something I’d love to listen to stretched out over the course of an entire album.

The free jazz and experimental peppering (which increase in frequency over the course of the album) are perfectly placed, and are more than welcome to the solid base of songwriting Baldiwn has developed over the years.

I want to say this is a transitional album, to assume this will propel Baldwin’s future work even further into the areas of experimentation and the unknown, but to do so would be to slight People Changes, which, of itself, is an absolutely divine picture of experimentation cohabitating with pop music.

Did I already say it? People Changes means 2011 has been a good year for music.

Weights by Nat Baldwin by western.vinyl

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