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Music Over Distance
Various Artists Nick Roseblade , July 2nd, 2020 08:46

Compiled by Richard Adams of Hood and The Declining Winter, Music Over Distance brings together a variety of musicians to raise money for PPE

Charity begins at home they say. Considering that we are all in lockdown this is, for once, technically true. There have been many Covid19 charity releases, and probably more to come. Colonel Tom, Foo Fighters and Friends, Gal Gadot’s ‘Imagine’ and the Indie Allstars cover of Shed 7’s ‘Chasing Rainbows’. Signal Records have decided to raise some money for personal protective equipment (PPE). The album was compiled by Richard Adams (Hood, The Declining Winter, Western Edges) and consist of twenty-two tracks featuring Boff Whalley of Chumbawamba’s Commoners Choir, Great Panoptique Winter, Katie English and Peter Hollo, CHONK, MALK, Gareth Brown, Alice Hubble, Andy Abbott, Benoit Pioulard, Gardener and a four year old percussionist. The songs were recorded in isolation with the musicians swapping files over the internet. Musically it ranges from brooding synth workouts, pulsating breakbeats, haunting strings and rousing sing-a-longs.

The two standout tracks are ‘Without Dwellling’ by Katie English and Peter Hollo and the ‘xxx’ by Commoners Choir, which was lead by Chumbawamba’s Boff Whalley. ‘Without Dwelling’ is just under six minutes of muted synths, harrowing strings and dissonant flute. It really hammers home what living in isolation feels like. There is strident paranoia that permeates it. It’s that feel you get every time you leave the house for some exercise or a quick trip to get essential food. A thousand eyes behind curtains, judging you. However, there is also something warming to ‘Without Dwelling’. As with real paranoia you can cast if off and realise that no one is judging you, they just want to say hello outside in the open like we used to. This feeling is what ‘Singing Together Apart’ is all about. Over a jaunty waltz the choir sings “Joining together. Working together. Listening together. Making a song. Singing together. When we’re together and singing together apart”. Not only is this a beautiful sentiment but it is the main takeaway from the album. It is a determined mantra that should be bellowed from the rooftops. It reminds us that although we are living in isolation, we aren’t alone.

Music Over Distance is an album that showcases what can be achieved when musicians working in isolation collaborate. It’s an album that is worth more than twelve weeks of clapping for the NHS on a Thursday. It’s worth a thousand more celebrities singing ‘Imagine’ or a bunch of past their prime indie all-stars, I use that word loosely here, murdering a song that wasn’t all that in the first place. This is an album that is full of reflective moments that really speak about what lockdown feels like. The fear, isolation and sheer joy when the little things come together. Ultimately, Music Over Distance is an album to play when you are at a low ebb. It’s full of hope and after playing it you start to realise that we are all in this together. This is an album about communication, collaboration and hope. These are things we need more of in these strange times.

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