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Sandro Perri : Impossible Spaces

Once in a while, an album comes out of the blue and really bowls you off your feet. The last time it happened to me was when an unknown-at-the-time Arcade Fire put out their debut long-player Funeral, a record so unique and fully realized that it almost seemed too good to be true. Sandro Perri isn’t exactly a newcomer – the Toronto-based producer has been churning out critically-acclaimed albums, firstly as Polmo Polpo and more recently under his own name, for over a decade – but his electronically-enhanced minimalist folk drones had never really struck a chord with me; consequently, Perri’s latest full-length, Impossible Spaces, comes as the most welcome kind of surprise. A sprawling six-part song-suite encompassing jazz, folk, modern classical, soulful pop, post-rock and electronica, Impossible Spaces is simply stunning, a damn-near perfect record that sees Perri coming into his own not just as a performer, but as a songwriter and composer too; for while these tracks ebb and flow at their own unhurried pace, Perri guides them toward a conclusion with a lazer-guided focus and attention to detail that validates the album’s four-year gestation period. Coupling syrupy R&B synths and rippling guitars to precise, minimal funk and Latin-flavoured rhythms, the album tips its hat to contemporaries like Dirty Projectors, the Sea & Cake and Tortoise, but with fluttering string and woodwind arrangements and Perri’s wandering, impressionistic vocal melodies taking a prominent position, a more accurate comparison would be Tim Buckley’s bohemian blues or the freewheeling cosmic pop of Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison. Impossible Spaces sounds both instantly familiar and startlingly original, timeless but defiantly forward-facing, but to try and describe its wondrous charms in any great detail could not do it justice; suffice to say it’s a magical listen, and a very strong contender for 2011’s “album of the year” title.

Listen: “Love And Light”

Impossible Spaces is out October 18 on Constellation Records

About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

One response to “Sandro Perri : Impossible Spaces

  1. Well said. As someone who loves the versions of Tim Buckley and Van Morrison you’ve referenced, who I honestly think is one of the underrated artists working in music today. I’ve slowly made Sandro Perri fans of a few friends, but his music isn’t made (any more than that of prime-era VM or TB is) for the modern instant-gratification-centered market. It’s too subtle.
    For what it’s worth, you’ve earned yourself at least one new foamhands subscriber with this well-written and on-point reveiw. Now do the world a public service and get the Quietus to give him some shine and turn more people on!

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