Back in the late 1980’s I got given a personal CD player. A joyous moment in my fledgling music addiction and devotion. A moment when I was given the opportunity to expand my perception of what could be recorded and presented. The moment when I began to fully appreciate the cleverness of what producers and bands began to do in the 1960’s and 70’s as they began to develop new ways of layering soundscapes to create masterpieces of sonic genius. With the key to that being Pink Floyd’s 1973 magnificent Dark Side of The Moon; an album that became and will always be the benchmark by which progressive musicians should always mark themselves.
Many of us will spend fruitless time either trying to produce or hear something of that standard again. It is, however, always doomed to failure; like chasing that first ever buzz, it only ever moves further away, harder to grasp. That’s not to say we don’t get close, there are always some moments that give new hope. Often at the point when you’ve heard more than enough pretentious, too clever by half, progressiveness by numbers album’s something pops up that reaffirms the belief that there are musicians out there who understand. Club Kuru, the South London based duo of Laurie Erskine and Laurence Hammerton, are just those type of musicians.
Meet Your Maker, their second album released on the 4th May, is a truly sumptuous piece of immersive progressive music, searching to find, in their own words, the ‘inner point of the three circles of psych, soul and jazz’. Something they have pretty much achieved in this accomplished collection of 12 dreamy songs that hark back to a time of sonic experimentation whilst retaining an up to date modernist take on the music that both influenced them and this record. Hammerton’s guitar playing, at times reminiscent of Neil Young, Peter Green and indeed David Gilmour, gives that dreamy edge that makes this album so alluring. Adding Erskine’s lyrics of the outsider, searching for recognition, looking for an idealised romance only add to that evocative dreaminess.
Dreamy in performance and lyricism Meet Your Maker may be but don’t be mistaken in thinking that it is in any way wishy-washy or unfocussed in creation or production. Working together in their South London home studio Club Kuru have put a great deal of work into making this album sound just right, nay even perfect. The dreaminess is deliberate and produced, it is music that creates a mood and a feeling. Music that sinks deep into the soul and psyche, opening up doors into the mind, releasing emotions that soar and soar in an aural avalanche of brilliance.
I know I’ll never get that same feeling I did when Dark Side of the Moon grabbed me all those years ago. I also know that the search for that buzz will find far more disappointments than successes. Yet I also know I’ll continue that search on till I can no longer do so. And whilst I do so I have the knowledge of knowing there is always high points like Meet Your Maker to accompany me on that journey. An album that sits alongside Dark Side of the Moon like a beacon. An album that fills speakers and headphones with perfect dreaminess and luscious production. An album that reminds me of that initial discovery back in the 1980’s, something for which Club Kuru should be congratulated for.