Bedroom Community

Press Reviews for En Garde

Puzzle Muteson is the latest artist to join Bedroom Community’s impressive repertoire. Initially noticed by his high school music teacher, who was left astounded by this Isle of Dogs’ boy’s “unrivalled vibrato”, a number of detours ensued before the former student molded his talents into his present alter-ego, which in recent years has seen him take his vocal talents on the road supporting the likes of Daniel Martin Moore, the Fruit Bats and Death Vessel.

Set for release in June, the debut recording En Garde, by the Isle of Wight based musician was fleshed out in Reykjavik, with the orchestral touches of Bedroom Community veteran and founder Valgeir Sigurðsson, who found himself fan first and keen producer second of this British folktronic amalgamation. The glittering piano touches and luscious string arrangements of course are signature marks of child prodigy cum acclaimed contemporary composer Nico Muhly, who also assisted – and aren’t we glad. The collaborative effort on Puzzle Muteson’s debut release is instantly recognisable for its heartbreaking Bedroom Community production, but too offers something new: a voice from the murky waters of London, drowning in sadness and shades of grey but also tinged with stunning celestial stringwork and lightfooted, lilting melodies.

With Muteson’s quavering tenor aided by the delicate production of Sigurðsson, En Garde plays out a spellbinding and hauntingly evocative fairytale of emotions of one man’s imagination. Dexterously textured string arrangements weave their way through a tapestry of finger picked acoustic guitar, coupled with a close, intimate sound which allows much of the raw emotion this effort harbours to eek through the speakers with often little more than a whisper. As it happens Muteson’s vocals are effortlessly conveyed, offering often intangible ideas that become more graspable as we listen in ever more intently play after play.

Chiming glockenspiel on the title track thickens courtesy of a thunderous build of percussion, that contains a somewhat baroque feeling, and rather evokes Neal Morgan’s percussive shaping of many of the tracks on Joanna Newsom’s Ys and Have One on Me. Harp arrangements too add a prettiness, almost a magical element to many of these songs which are surreal and yet not overtly so, providing the kind of comfort one finds in a slumber. ‘Glover”s hushed “sleep tight” sums up the calm this listening provides despite its turmoil of emotions. It is dreamlike in its nostalgic imagery projected byfloating vocals. It is these notions of nostalgia and a hunting for that lost something or someone that pull this work closer to the heart of its listener than its anonymous creater could possibly have imagined.

Melanie McGovern

Folk Radio UK (April 19th 2011)

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Released on 29 September 2014
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En Garde
Released on 6 June 2011
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En Garde (single) 7” Vinyl
Released on 23 May 2011
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