An exercise in contrarianism, Never Is Always is Pablo Giw’s experiments with creating electronic music, both house music and darker more experimental works, but only using acoustic means- his trumpet, found sound percussion and his own voice. It’s an ambitious and diverse project and the results are intriguing and mostly very successful.
Opener “Morning Machine” is actually one of the weaker parts, with 60’s-style beat poetry updated for the digital age, an indulgent self-analysis involving rewriting one’s ego in binary, over a layered drone of trumpets and other noises- one of those tracks you wish there was an instrumental version of. Similarly “The Golden Calf” is more conventionally jazzy and more akin to what you might expect from ‘a trumpet album’, with late-arriving lyrics that are vaguely Karl Hyde-like in the way they manage to sound like stream-of-consciousness yet carefully planned at the same time.
As the work progresses though things get much stronger. “Hain” is a highlight, a long piece of unique-sounding dancing music with a simple and infectious groove. The layered atmospheric trumpet-sourced atmospheres like “What’s Outside Isn’t There” are very strong, as is “Gone” which sounds like someone trying to play a full Phillip Glass orchestral work on a solo trumpet at racing speed, yet somehow it works. “I Saw You - Trouble” is two connected short ideas, with “Trouble” an organic recreation of stuttering house music with a strangely endearing awkwardness. The dark sinister stepping electro of “Right Endeavour” is a short interlude that hints at a very different style that could easily be explored much further to great effect.
So while the poetry-driven tracks ultimately didn’t ‘click’ with me, overall there’s enough energy and originality in here to make it definitely worth checking out.