George Bloomfield - Why Didn't You (Self-Released, 2021)
The Leeds based singer-songwriter builds upon the success of his single releases with his debut EP, which blends dreamy Indie feels with a vast array of other genre stylings, with the results a enriching mix of sublimity and grace.
There's something pretty magical about surrounding yourself with a bunch of instruments and being able to craft a collection of tracks from them, but for those who have the gift of vision combined with musicianship it comes as naturally as water flowing through the middle of a vast valley basin. Here at EG, we always enjoy a sound forged on the ideals of morphology and creativeness, where the process of making the music seemed inherently organic and enjoyable, as pieces flowed so very naturally into one another, like a puzzle that awaited the right hands to bring it all together. But, as always, the way in which that puzzle gets completed remains very much in the mind of the maker, and the results will always be ever so slightly different, the colours perhaps filled in plenty of variation, with those results always dependent on the kind of vibe being curated by the person behind it all. Indie music has a long and varied history with incorporation and accommodation of other musical styles, with its elastic nature providing a platform for growth and spatial awareness, with the guitars and drums finding plenty of room for things like horns, densities and vocal performances. The results of these accommodations have always wowed audiences from across the spectrum of musical taste, as like with many other genres or sub-genres that explore the further reaches of possibility with traditional genre tropes there's a distinctiveness that comes with being able to place differing elements into the momentum. We are immediately impressed with the feel being presented to us, a vibe that reminds us of many other things that persist in other parts of the musical imagination, yet it all exists within one consistent thread, where we look around and feel able to experience all that is on offer. The scope and scale feel wide, as elements from all over begin to make their presence known within the progression, as subtle build ups and transitions twinkle and flicker deep within the sub-structures and unravelling mountainsides, as the pieces begin to come together in the most glorious of ways. We always remain vigilant for these kinds of artists, ones who's music remains very much something to behold, something to invest in, and something to grab by both hands and never let go, as ever impressive feels and notions continue to come our way. Its the kind of music to invest in, to believe in and stand behind, the scope of which is set incredibly far and wide and as such hints at continued excellence to come, be it in the form of further explorations of the furthest reaches of possibility or perhaps a new vibe that operates so very well alongside the sound being concocted already, but we are safe in the knowledge that it will be everything we imagined it to be. To be safe in that knowledge is a powerful thing indeed, and its testament to the artists who make such a sound that we feel this inside us, a feeling which will remain on us as we glide through life, looking for that perfect notion to get us through the day, come rain or shine, and at the end of the day this is the feeling we always want to have within us as we set sail to the stars or deep into that never ending vista.
This is the kind of emotional response we have to the music of multi-instrumentalist George Bloomfield, who has introduced himself to the world in the most bountiful and wide reaching of ways with his formidable yet softly spoken sound. The Leeds based musician takes us on quite the voyage with his music, with the structure that binds it all being that of an Indie orientation but with an incredible sense of scale and perspective injected into proceedings, with this scale providing plenty of space for Jazz, Funk, Psychedelic and much much more, and it's this ability to look beyond that really helps to set Bloomfield apart from many within the contemporary musical landscape. His crafting of songs is second to none, with elements clearly defined and panned and placed to perfection, with delicate drumming patterns, gorgeous bass lines and gently swaying horns all interlaced by the key binding agent - the guitar. That particularly familiar guitar tone features prominently in the majority of his work, fluidly moving through the layers as either a floating solo element or as a intriguing rhythmic element, it remains an ever present feature of his style and one that always works so wonderfully with the set parameters. Bloomfield seems intent on keeping us very much on our toes with his music, as the feel of the momentum always shifts ever so slightly to encourage us to look at things from a differing perspective, be it as a focus on the vocal performances or the dreamlike instrumental section, there's always an enriching space being created for us to nod along to and deeply invest within. Its music very much with soul and heart, as passions overspill from every direction which does much to aid us in our ever wishful desire to escape within tracks, and Bloomfield's music ticks these boxes time and time again, such is its ability to move as much as it can make you think. Intricacies and beautifully considered compositions will take you very far, and Bloomfield has an immense amount of talent, not just with the instruments that exist around him but with his ability to use them and make an series of audial environments that remain very much his and his alone. His sound is something to hold in the palm of your hand, a thing to behold and nurture a relationship with, as we become further invested over time with his unique blend of genres and styles. Bloomfield wetted the collective appetite with the singles 'Twelfth' and 'Push Back The Sun', which both arrived in 2020 and helped to provide us with a sense of things to come - the former is a sublime meander through all manner of hazy guitar tones and interjecting horn arrangements, with the latter remaining in the same kinds of frequencies but with more of an emphasis on the wonderful vocals of Freya Thompson and the low slung key lines. Both these tracks point in the directions that Bloomfield seemed ready to grab with both hands, two sides of the coin that certainly contained an enormous amount of space in which to grow and abound, to search above and beyond into the essence of his sound, and that next step only seemed right round the corner.
Earlier this year, Bloomfield released his debut EP, 'Why Didn't You', and on this he builds upon the successes of his singles and expands the horizon lines outwards to unprecedented scales and places. Over the course of the five tracks found within, we remain rooted to the spot as all manner of wondrous tones pass us by, like passing lights in the night or dazzling stars in the sky that flicker in and out of view, a universe that is constructed to a T to ensure that every single inch gives over to us something of meaning. Each track remains very much consistent in its tonal outlook but with plenty of variation in relation to the arrangement and how everything flows from one place to the next, and its these journeys that give the EP a hefty sense of dynamism. Its incredibly impressive as a sequential experience, a series of exchanges that leaves us never wanting more, such is the satisfaction we receive from leaving each of the tracks behind in the rear view mirror, but our intrigue and investment always has us turning around and going back. Sublime, introspective, bountiful and beautiful, its music to help you believe once again, to feel hopeful, and a perfect companion to those hazy summer days out in the fields, with nothing but companionship, the long grass and the deep blue skies to accompany you. Featuring Alex Harrod, Jack Purcell-Burrows on the trumpet, and Freya Thompson on flute and backing vocals, its a mesmerising world to get locked into, so with that sentiment, lets dive right into this gorgeous piece of music....
Up first comes the title track, and this one immediately helps to set the tone. The intro gives way to the main body of the cut, that sees the laid back swing of the drums provide a highly effective backdrop to the numerous guitar layers, that includes a compelling rhythm section alongside the wailing lead sequence, which winds and dives around the momentum with a wonderful level of dexterity, as if its trying to tell us something. The vocals land into the mix soon after, repeating the line 'Why didn't you, come up for air?', a line which remains inquisitive, emotional and hopeful all at the same time, yet with a hint of sadness perhaps, such is its ambiguous nature we are left to ponder, but in the context of the liquid nature of the composition it works perfectly with our own mental wonderings. The track then leads into a breakdown of sorts, where the drums move away and provide plenty of space for the horn arrangements to slide into view, with a sax line also making its presence known, and as the drums arrive once again the instruments double up in intensity, with Bloomfield's voice coming back into view once again as we are navigated beautifully through this new setting. Wonderful stuff. Up next comes 'Reminiscent', and this one keeps the vibrations going from the opener. The guitar lines lead the way, with gentle backing lines providing the basis for the solo line to ride the crest up top, with the drums and soft horn arrangements coming into view not soon after, and it all just comes together so very well. A switch up occurs as the horns drop out to leave just the lead guitar line and the soft ethereal vocal line in the backdrop, no words but just a seamless sequence of tones that crafts such rawness and emotion. The horns arrive soon after to keep the fire very much burning, with plenty of variation occurring within the arrangements to help see the track out into the night. Wonderful stuff. Up next comes 'Remember the Days', and this one begins with familiar tones to get us going. The mix of drums, rhythm guitar and lead guitar are not lost on us yet, and the way in which this one builds up is particularly effective, with subtle lines of enquiry leading us in all kinds of directions, from the compelling lead solo down to the reverbed chordal arrangements and through to the softly undulating horns, it all works so very well as a blended momentum. The vocals operate very well within this structure, with the words 'I think of the day, trapped inside, I think of the way, I lost my mind' really doing a number over us, with their placement and application working beautifully within the confines of the track. The momentum back into the instrumental sections is pulled off very effectively, with Bloomfield again showing his ability to arrange as we arrive into the backing vocal segment where things get a bit more informal but no less impressive. There's still time to go through the lead vocals one more time, and those words still hit very hard indeed. Beautiful stuff.
'Cornucopia' comes next, and this one begins with the sublime guitar riff to get us going. Its rhythmic feel captures the imagination immediately, with the ensemble of characters that arrives soon after just emphasising the momentum with grace and purpose, the lead guitar taking more of a structured approach to adding weight to proceedings, with the drums effectively propping up the layers alongside the soft bass. The mix is one that you wish you could just jump in and get to know, a delectable sea of feeling that washes over us with all the fever in the world, as the most delicate of feels warms us in the soul. The horns arrive to add further punch to the track, their feel rising higher than ever before to give us that density which Bloomfield is capable of conjuring up so magnificently, and we are left with the warmest of feelings in our hearts as the track fades away. Very special, this one. To wrap things up, we have 'Outro', and this one begins in familiar territories indeed. The acoustic guitar leads the way along the sweep of the lead, its graceful movement giving way for the drums and horns to come right into view, with the horns given plenty of breathing room to work their magic over us, as the guitar feels blended further back into the arrangement to give the mid section a hefty amount of depth. The swing into the sax led segment is masterfully done, as we nod our heads to the sways in which we feel so very involved within, with flickering textures and tones sliding our way on an ever present basis, and as the drums fade away we are left with one final reminder of what makes this album so special - the wailing, emotional guitar, and it is something that will live long in the memory. An album to hold close, to cherish and beholden, to feel connected to, to carry along as a part of you. Magical, in every sense of the word.
There's a consistency that persists on this record that's hard not to fall in love with, but its the way in which Bloomfield arranges around these consistencies that gives over to us completely new perspectives each and every time we arrive at a new track. We wind through five contexts that feel familiar but present over to us something bold, something rich, something impressive and with feeling, as the densities and tones do much to move the mind as much as they do the body and soul. Its music that wants to involve us from the get go, inviting us into a universe that is beautifully constructed and conceived, never shying away from going above and beyond into new spaces to provide differing perspectives on the strongest of sounds. We remain in awe at Bloomfield's arranging ability and his vision, one that is capable of creating a highly consistent EP that has all the hallmarks of a musician who has plenty to say and says it all very well indeed. A record that is worthy of repeat listens, with its contents something that we will certainly want to explore time and time again, no matter what feeling that might accompany us. - its a companion for all of life's contexts and environments, and that in itself is something very special indeed. A wonderful piece of music.
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