Music Reviews

David Thomas Broughton vs. 7 Hertz

David Thomas Broughton vs. 7 Hertz (Acuarela). Review by Aaron Shaul.

David Thomas Broughton vs. 7 Hertz

David Thomas Broughton vs. 7 Hertz


I know from first-hand experience that it takes some time to warm up to David Thomas Broughton. A friend of mine played one of his earlier full-lengths constantly last fall, and there was something in the idiosyncratic timbre of his voice that instantly recalled the buttery tones of husky androgyny like Antony (of the Johnsons) and Nina Simone, but still jarred. To say the pleasant tone is grating doesn’t quite capture my reaction, but it was certainly a diction that I couldn’t wrap my tastes around. Fast forward to this spring and the opportunity to try out his new collaboration with Leeds improvisational group 7 Hertz; I took the chance, and finally, Broughton makes sense.

Although made up of only five tracks, the disc’s length is in 60+ minute territory. For improvisers like these, brevity doesn’t enter into their songwriting language with any regularity. There are sparing builds behind Broughton’s guitars and looped, forlorn vocals with various strings and reeds. It’s a very loose, jamming style like Movietone or Appendix Out but on a much headier journey into the unknown. It’s not brainless wankery either; moments like the intro to “Fisted Hand” soar on fiddle melodies that color just as bright a hue as any three-minute alt-country classic. Likewise, “River Outlet” blooms like a full moon in the Montana countryside. It’s so quiet, empty, and hugely beautiful. It’s music to stretch out to, get lost in, and let subliminally creep into your consciousness to reveal its rewards over time.


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