ALBUM REVIEW - 'ALL THINGS
REAL' BY WIM BOLUIJT
FROM HANX MAY '06
(TRANSLATED FROM DUTCH)
The horror and the beauty. The former first. Horror because the superficials-of-pen
categorise Steve Adey with a few words under the followers of Will Oldham
and Dylan. Because he recorded 'I See A Darkness' and 'Shelter From The
Storm'? Cover journalism. Keith of Grand Harmonium, who sent me the album,
already wrote: "Hope you get the chance to listen properly –
this album takes a while". Then the beauty. Like a church, that is
how 'All Things Real' sounds. Alcoves where sculptures of sadness stare.
Stained glass windows that let the late evening sun confess its colour.
The altar where the silence finds meaning. No, this is not foremost about
faith or religion. This is about the space where we are. And the space
we find within ourselves. Walking into the Sent Theresia Chapel in Westende
and seeing the painting of Job by Luc Zeebroek (Kamagurka).
Adey recorded 'Find The Way' in a church. His voice and the piano. The
rest was added later somewhere else. A silenced observation of coming
to a standstill.
“The lines are down.
The road is closed.
There is no way around the sea.”
Give me your hand and together we will walk away from it. That is how
by Steve Adey’s capable ears (he mixed and mastered several classical
recordings) a sound of warmth, intensity and depth that evokes everything,
came into existence. The breathing. The sighing. The cracking of the drum
pedals. Steve Adey investigates on this début. Like Nick Cave.
But softer in word and action. Similar to John Cale. Mary Margaret O’Hara
is the fourth song on the album. Adey hums together with the piano and
the strings sounding like mist gliding over water. In Steve Adey’s
world the folly and the madness are absent. In that respect he differs
from people like Bill Callahan (Smog) and Will Oldham. At the same time
he who is never cynical like they are, does have a kinship with them when
it comes to the laying bare, with great precision, of questions and moods.
His version of 'I See A Darkness' makes the song more broad then deep.
The tension in Oldham’s version and the quiver that Johnny Cash
put into it are absent in Adey’s rendition. With the distance he
employs, the song gets a meekness which borders on a philosophical contemplation.
A third definitive version. Also with 'Shelter From The Storm' Adey does
something special. Where Dylan still pants from the long journey and impatiently
throws his wet coat and hat on the chair, Steve Adey walks in calmly.
She, who first glanced down, looks up now. "Come in", she says,
"the wind blows so hard". He strokes with his hand over his
face, he watches her for a moment and then walks to the piano. Slowly
he plays. But not listlessly. “She walked up to me so gracefully
and took my crown of thorns”. She looks at him. Her face is expressionless.