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NEW ALBUM: Andy Mackay - 3 Psalms
ANDY MACKAY ~ 3 Psalms

[Image: 71Wf9CNOUJL._SX425_.jpg]

Roxy Music’s Andy Mackay has done something most unusual, and quite beautiful. I tend to shrink from anything that is overtly religious, having my own struggles in this area, however, I’m well versed in the Psalms and these renditions are like nothing I’ve heard before; one imagines King David with his lyre – not (tastefully) rock/electronic infused, sax laden songs! Somehow – he has them sounding almost secular while solemn, and there is no disrespect whatsoever – I would be surprised to learn that anyone might be offended by what he has done, subscriber or not. So interesting, and in this category because there I think you would peg it as art rock with progressive leanings, symphonic, but not classical. 

As to scriptures, or holy books/works, I think they are all important and that all hold certain truths – it’s in the interpretation that things start to go pear-shaped. Anyway –  that’s a slippery slope to head down, so not going there. The word Psalm means ‘praise’ in its original context and the book of Psalms is essentially the Bible’s songbook - 150 of ‘em altogether. They are structured with rhythm and meter, albeit it archaic, and sometimes there are even directions at the beginning of a psalm as to which instruments should be played as accompaniment (I’m not sure Mackay paid heed to any of those, lol!).

Perhaps because of my own associations, this was quite an emotional listen for me. The music is gorgeous – the sax divine (pardon the pun), I think that’s Phil Manzanera on guitar, and the whole is beautifully orchestrated, lush, rich and deep. After hearing the album, I read an interview in Spill Magazine that I’m copying here – Mr Mackay says it better! … 

“I started working on this idea a long time ago, in the 1990s, mid 1990s, as a more experimental originally and turned into something else. I worked on it up to the 2000s. The demos were done around 2000.  Then Roxy started touring in 2001, and I had to shelve it for a while. Basically it is a three movement symphony, well moderately-based movements. The movements go from despair and end into joy and hope. It features a joyful last movement.”

“It is basically my album, using a small group of London musicians, and we recorded it in Phil Manzanera’s studio in North Hampton. We recorded for about 18 months, with gaps, then I found a choir in South Hampton, an amateur choir, but I quite liked their style. We used the Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague, and it is a lot cheaper than recording in London. A lot of film soundtracks are recorded there, they are great musicians. The vocals are by Harry Day Lewis. I had seen him perform in  an acoustic group, and he has a fabulous voice and I did consider getting a different singer for each psalm, which would have been nice in some ways and commercially, but I think it would overpowered, as a vehicle for the singer, rather than the voice being another instrument. Harry delivers the words so well, and the words are very important. Also you have tackle Hebrew and Latin and he managed that very well,” says Mackay.

Hebrew and Latin are languages not found in many new recordings.

“I quite like the idea of Hebrew, it was an idea that came late in the project,” says Mackay. “We tried translating from Hebrew into English, the Psalms were originally written in Hebrew, but it worked better in the Hebrew. It was a nice way to acknowledge the historical side. It is also a beautiful language to sing in. Latin I used, because, surprisingly it is much more precise than English.

“It is not a religious piece, although it can be taken in that way. I used the Psalms because it was dealing with general human questions, not specifically Christian ones.”

Can’t find any video clips on the www, so if anyone cares to listen, it’s either Spotify ….

Or Deezer ….
"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
i'll get back to this one over the next few days Ruby...

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