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Stars and Streams


Artist: Paul Bergmann
Label: Paul Bergmann
Release Date: 26 August 2016

Los Angeles-based solo artist Paul Bergmann releases his new album Stars and Streams. The album takes influence from the deep cuts, the soulful cuts, the timeless cuts of American pop - Phil Spector girl groups to Elliott Smith B-sides - Leonard Cohen’s vulnerability to Nebraska-era Springsteen’s simplicity...

Stars and Streams is a stripped back acoustic album. At times I was reminded of Lou Reed and John Cale's 1990 concept LP Songs for Drella (especially on tracks like 'Stars and Streams' and 'In the Morning'). At other points there's the crooning of Cash or Dylan.

While the PR machine is pushing this as "timeless", I'd argue that it's been deliberately designed to blur the time of creation with its retro sounding production and style coupled with a more modern sound. "Timeless" in this instance, I'd argue, is manufactured to be "time non-specific". It does mean that you can listen to this in 10-20 years from now and not be able to place when it was recorded if you didn't know. And I don't necessarily think that that is a good selling point other than for those who don't like artists who adopt the recording fads of the current time.

The album contains 9 songs (29 min, 14 sec) and is certainly one that grows on you the more you listen to it. I could probably have done without the whistling on 'Life', it's close to sounding like a long forgotten Western movie theme... but not close enough. '100 Years' is a fitting way to finish off this rather enjoyable album - if, once again, you can overlook another bout of whistling.


Nick Smithson

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