Stove Bredsky
"The Black Ribbon Award"

(Hydra Head Records 2008)Stove Bredsky - The Black Ribbon Award

"The Black Ribbon Award," Stove Bredsky's first solo full-length record since 2001's "Ole Sunday," is 18 tracks of tempestuous questioning in meandering seclusion. Taking everyday influences such as "whispers, kitchen appliances and cracked knuckles," Bredsky created an album that's so diverse it confounds. I spent a long time with this music, trying to understand it, to decipher it strand by strand. Stray tunes played in my head at the most untimely junctures be it driving in my car or standing in the shower. There is something about this music that I just can't put my finger on, it almost defies simple explanation, yet, there is clarity just beneath its surface.

The opening track, "Blue Seclusion," is edgy, new age, melodic yet very reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. "Dead of Winter" is a philosophical rendering of coming to terms with individual limits within societal mores. "Rainbow No More" is surreal desperation. "Orange Sunshine Medicine" is lighter, more wistful "thoughts and dreams are whipped around" in a psychedelic array of sound. "Splatter Brain" is nightmarish, fiendish, a collision of emotion. "Return to Rain" is this really soft, gentle, acoustic piece, just lovely and relaxing like rain on a window pane.

Most of this music is a free fall into the deepest black abyss, chaotic and edgy a few light tracks that are hopeful, less wistful with the exception of "A Swelling Hope," the final track. There is something in this track that is immeasurable and that is so pure it strikes right to the center of unconscious thought. As this track unfolds, the music literally swells and buoys along waves of simple strings within layers of synthesized instrumentation, it's an incredible effect, very satisfying. Then, in a breath, it's gone and all goes silent like a final passionate kiss between two insatiable lovers.


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