Dudley Benson: The Awakening (Golden Retriever)

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Dudley Benson: Audrey H
Dudley Benson: The Awakening (Golden Retriever)

The charming and slightly eccentric art music of Benson will be familiar to longtime Elsewhere people: his previous EPs have been posted here -- and now comes the long-anticipated debut album.

The former chorister indulges himself in some oddly appealing Elizabethan language as much as in sometimes gorgeous arrangements for voice, harpsichord, strings, harp and some traditional Maori instruments to make for an album rich in quirky lyrics (titles include Asthma, It's Akaroa's Fault, Lingeress) and suffused in a religious spirit, personal imagery and a lovely childlike spirit.

It can also be read as a song cycle about the South Island of his childhood, and the fears and delights which preoccupied him.

So this is extremely sophisticated but also comes off as unusual and naive, a little like The Famous Five in the spoken word section of the seductive closer.

Dudley Benson is unique in the New Zealand musical landscape -- and here is persuasive evidence that he is also important.

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Jeffrey Paparoa Holman - Nov 25, 2008

Best of 2008 - I give Dudley a rap to go on the list. Jeffrey.

Matt - Dec 18, 2008

In a superb year for New Zealand music, including the Ruby Suns' Sea Lion and Luke Buda's Vesuvius, the debut record from Christchurch ex-chorister Dudley Benson - The Awakening - stood out from the pack as the best local album of the year. Impeccably arranged replete with harpsichord, desolte recorders and sparse beat-boxing in fan favourite 'It's Akaroa's Fault', The Awakening presents a coherent and idiosyncratic artistic vision. Harp-driven 'Psalm for Antigone' recalls the equally oddball Joanna Newsom while the powrful 'Rapaki' evokes the introspection of Bjork's masterpiece Vespertine. Fragile but never frail, Dudley Benson should not pass discerning listeners by.

Mike - Golden Retriever Information - Feb 9, 2011

Interesting article.

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