Al Brooker


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Gwei-Lo guitarist Al Brooker had an impeccable ear and a great ability for composing textured, layered songs. Quixotic compiles ten creations that Brooker was developing before his untimely death at the Strawberry Fair in Cambridge, England, in June of 2000. It's a release bred purely of the love Bella Union founder and maestro Simon Raymonde has for Brooker and his music. The title track opens the album under a bittersweet hail of fractured, touching guitars and effects. From there, Brooker explores keyboard/piano melodies, handles massive wobbly dub tones with a master's touch, wields samplers with an unearthly grace, and proves himself again and again as a studio wizard. The rain of fire he lets loose on "Static" after a few moments of mournful notes is spellbinding. The song absolutely rages, expressing equal emotions of sadness and anger, as piercing electronic tones ring through the air. The jazzy experimentation and pristine electronic sounds of "Blah" make for an engrossing look into the unique way Brooker was blending genres. Listening to the gentle, sad "Slothrop" is an extremely emotional experience. It's pure love expressed through instruments. It's a beautiful tribute to Brooker's talent and musical soul that Bella Union has made these lost songs available to a larger audience. One listen to "Blah," "Static," "Slothrop," or the title song, and most listeners will probably hold Quixotic forever close to their hearts.

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