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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
THE DINING ROOMS – LONESOME TRAVELLER
Three years after Ink, The Dining Rooms have now released their sixth studio album entitled Lonesome Traveller. This album is distinctly mellower than some of their previous records, but it's a lot more soulful too – very focused on vocals, sung by Jake Reid on most tracks – and on the well-penned lyrics of the tunes. Instrumentation still has the warm jazzy focus of other Dining Rooms records, with lots of nice keyboards – and the vocals bubble forth with a gentle groove, a bit like the change on Jazzanova on their recent records, but nicely laidback overall. Titles include "Stoic Calm", "We Are The Music Makers", "Running Dog", "Interiors", "Hotel Rooms", "Elsewhere", and "We Are The Dreamers". Lonesome Traveller is described as an elaborate record, as it crosses the traditional song format by means of complex melodic textures and a minimalist approach to the vocals, all of which is interwined with the instrumental parts in a kind of a psycho-jazz, soul mantra. But Lonesome Traveller is also a concept album about the journey, inspired by a series of writings by Jack Kerouac ("Lonesome Traveller", released in 1960). The song titles and the order of the tracks are designed like chapters of a book or scenes from a movie, a sort of emotional narrative that becomes the underlying theme of the album and blends, seamlessly, literary, musical and cinematic references, from Don DeLillo (“Running Dog”) to Woody Allen (“Interiors”); from Can (“Fading Gradually) to half-breed jazz (Io cammino ma….) passing through Erik Satie meeting Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada ("We are the music makers," "We are the Dreamers," "Hotel rooms"). The ‘traveller’ is lead by "existential" questionings and embarks on a journey that is primarily research based, with self-discovery as the central focus. The journey, an unexplored horizon, becomes a metaphor for life: the conquest of man’s own internal world evoked in this album by the dialectic between voice and instruments. This highlights the gap between stability and instability, speed and slowness and between established values and absolute freedom. It is the driving force of human will to look ahead to the future and the unknown as a new challenge. The journey therefore contains a substantial polarity between loyalty to man’s own roots and the challenge of research, between the promise of the conquest and the risk of loss, between the hope of return and surrender to the unknown.