This is such a lovely release that I completely missed last year. Fortunately thanks to the incredible music lovers over at Peanuts Playground, I’m missing out no longer! As Vertigo originally wrote about this album last year:
“Close to Paradise” is the third record of Montreal pianist/singer-songwriter Patrick Watson and his band – guitarist Simon Angell, drummer Robbie Kuster and bassist Mishka Stein (being the latest two firmly planted on the local avant-jazz scene).
The quartet creates a touching balance of timeless rock/pop music, with good lyrics, Watson’s sensitive vocals and unique soundscapes.
Add the names of the co-producers Besnard Lakes’ Jace Lasek, Jean Massicotte and additional electronic touches by Ninja Tune’s Amon Tobin, and you’ve got an album that truly glows.
In Watson’s own words:
The title of the album is inspired by a painter friend of mine, called Rodney Dickson. That expression, “close to paradise”, comes from when we were travelling in Vietnam [in 2001]. He did this amazing painting called “Close to Paradise”, which is an expression that means you’re halfway there but you don’t think you’re going to make it. It’s a standard Vietnamese expression. That was the first major theme of the record.
This project started out being based on a photography book – Waterproof9. Brigitte [Watson’s girlfriend and visual collaborator] asked me to do music for it. I couldn’t figure out the way to do my music before that. As soon as I looked at the images, I was able to structure the different stuff I wanted to do. I’ve always used that as a guideline. If you have a really good picture, a film in your head, it’s easier to bring these weird aspects into the music, because you’re telling a story.
The songs have classical, jazzy and psychedelic touches, making the record’s sound as full as the songs are appealing. Watson has even utilized his own skill as a producer to add samples taken from various locations, from a choir in Helsinki to an abandoned church in Montreal. This is a great record, creative and emotional, and not to be missed, in my humble opinion.
As for Mr. Watson, it’s time to listen to some tunes and enjoy!
because everybody needs some body
to hold down
oh everybody needs somebody
to hold down
when your feet leavin the ground
More love for yet another Canadian…