Bobo - A Collection of Short Poems By Karl Hildebrandt called "Ness"
This is probably the first album to be conceived, recorded and released during the Coronavirus lockdown. A collaboration between Swedish ambient wizard, Bobo Molander, currently residing in Manchester and poet about town, Karl Hildebrandt, "The Moshpit Poet Laureate". Karl used to play bass alongside Chris Bridgett, and Funky Si Wolstencroft in the short lived but highly rated The G-O-D.
Bobo takes up the story; I have known Karl for around 2 years, we have worked on several projects together, but it's been in this pandemic that we actually pulled a coherent story together in 2 days. He kept sending me small poems on Whatsapp, when he was pissed in isolation. It started off as a 4 tracker but he kept sending more, "just one more song please". The final product is an ambient excursion that takes the listener from rain to summer and ends of with the sound of life.
Simply titled Ness after Karl's partner, what you get is snippets of Hildebrandt's spoken word, weaved delicately inside Bobo's dreamy, lilting soundscapes, whose intensity drops periodically, just to let the poets words pierce the tranquility before rolling over them again. This is a man who wears not only his heart on his sleeve, but his balls, spleen and lungs. Not a Richie Manic "4 Real" razor cut carved into his forearm, more like "fucking proper", gouged out of his torso with his bare nails. Most of us would just construct a Spotify Playlist, the 21st Century version of the mix-tape and have done with it, but this fucker puts us all to shame and records an album!
I know that some of the material is borne of frustration. Social comment on a personal level, harvested from snippets of his interactions with those members of the general public, who believe the rules do not apply to them. The less is more style paints a broad brush image, leaving the listener to colour in between the lines themselves. All of this beautifully accompanied by the the perfect soundtrack.
Track 1 talks of genius and talent over the sound of rainfall. Single piano notes punctuating an Eno-esque cloud, possibly a pigeon taking off in the drizzle and backward speech passages. It's lilting and soporific, but in a good way and the single reason why it's taken so long to write this review. It simply sends me off. [I discovered a cure for my insomnia about 15 years ago, when a friend suggested I listen to Brian Eno "Ambient 1 - Music For Airports" on headphones whilst trying to drop off at bedtime. It worked so well that I never actually heard the the other tracks on it until I put my iPod on shuffle one day!]
Track 2 is his Michael Stipe moment, "have I said too much, or not enough" as Bobo creates a swirling gossamer web of sound, like something from the Director's Cut Bladerunner soundtrack. Beware replicants. There's that doubt nagging away at the back of your mind, not sure if you've expressed yourself adequately enough.
Track 3 contains the phrase "15 minutes with you, I wouldn't say no", an obvious Smiths reference but used here as a challenge to discourse but ultimately a threat coated in violence. Akin to the David Thewliss sample from Mike Leigh's "Naked" used by The Orb on S.A.L.T, you can extrapolate the bigger picture from the information you've been given. Poetical sudoku.
By Track 4 I almost feel I'm reading someone else's private mail, the intimacy of the phrasing, lifting the mask shielding a lonely heart. And because of that feeling, I put down my pen as now I'm wondering if I've said too much, or perhaps not enough. Unsure if the words I use can do it justice, I stand disarmed and naked.
The whole project was put together in just 2 days, but this collection is so good and polished that you'd never know it. Hildebrandt's emotions are there for all to see. You can feel his frustration and sadness about the enforced separation from his muse, who just happens to be a frontline NHS worker. Selfless for the greater good. Download your copy by clicking the logo below. All proceeds are being split equally by the creatives involved at the is difficult time. Dig deep. Oh look, a balloon!
For Fans of: Brian Eno & Harold Budd, William Orbit, Public Service Broadcasting and The Orb