The Tim Buckley Archives

Album Reviews


Record of the Week

Tim Buckley - Lorca (Elektra)

by Rod Young

Divorcing itself from all but the slightest impulse towards traditional song form, Lorca presents the listener with a jazzy, if sometimes meandering, mélange of musical soundscape, over which Tim Buckley’s multi-octave voice is free to soar unhampered by constraints of popular taste.

On the heels of his most commercially successful Long Player, Buckley entered the studio in the fall of 1969 determined to hammer the last nail into the Happy Sad phase of his career.

By today’s hyper-Google standards, to fully appreciate the significance of Buckley’s music it appears necessary to mine the innards of his biography.

However, by doing this, one somehow trades in the heady weight of his art for a curiously tragic chronicle. With its sci-fi intro clumsily merging into a hypnotically descending rhythm pattern, the title track signals a conscious break from the past. Buckley weaves in and out of organ swells and shard-like piano stabs, creating a muscular vocal melody that demands attention.

“Anonymous Proposition” is a sparse jazz jam highlighting the considerable bass talents of John Balkin. Hints of the old Buckley do emerge in the rollicking “Nobody Walkin’” and the folksy “I Had A Talk With My Woman” but each song offers a fresh twist on form.

Although neither the album nor the artist ever reached the commercial success that Elektra Records had hoped, Buckley’s musical legacy remains one of constant movement and experimentation. And these are two traits that are best appreciated through listening.

© 2009 Young/bagatellen

Bagatellen began as a blog in early 2003, spearheaded by five music writers with enthusiasm for various areas of improvised music. The site was a natural outgrowth of — rather than a response to — the dynamics of online community forums, tempered by a dash of slight frustration with print publications of the time.

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