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Music Review

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Beyond the End


Artist: Ed Harcourt
Label: Point of Departure
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 23 November 2018

Point of Departure release Ed Harcourt's new album, Beyond the End. An acclaimed recording artist who released his Mercury Prize nominated debut Here Be Monsters on Heavenly Recordings in 2001, in recent years he has garnered acclaim for his songwriting for a variety of artists. The album, which follows Furnaces, his 2016 album for Polydor, sees the singer, writer and all-round instrumentalist bravely eschew vocals and lyrics and create a soft-spoken yet emotionally loquacious group of piano-led instrumentals...

Ed Harcourt's Beyond the End contains 12 piano based instrumental songs (40 min, 17 sec). It feels like a cross between classical music and a soundtrack. It's highly emotive and really does get under your skin with its memorable and engaging themes.

Talking about the album, Harcourt said: “I knew I wanted to buy a new piano. Eventually I found this 1910 Hopkinson Baby Grand, which is exactly the same make and era as my grandmother’s piano which I started learning on and wrote my first three records on. I felt at home again. I needed a break from singing and lyrics so I began writing instrumental music. I grew up listening to and playing Debussy, Satie, Mozart, Grieg, as well as modern composers like Max Richter, Philip Glass, Arvo Part. I also loved Warren Ellis (with whom Harcourt worked on the new Marianne Faithfull album) and Nick Cave’s score for The Assassination Of Jesse James. So from around February I’d get up on the cold mornings, have a coffee after the kids had gone to school, then come in here, shut the door, just play… with the snow coming down outside the window. When I found something I thought worked, I’d play it over and over again…”

With the piano accompanied on occasion by Ed’s wife Gita Langley’s violin and Amy Langley’s cello, the album has a natural flow to it. While you could easily play this in any order, it really works best the way it's been structured.

Overall, this is an impressive and relaxing album of laid back and beautifully realised themes.


Darren Rea

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