Brian English – Beyond Words

Brian English - Beyond Words

CD, Record Label Records, 2006
www.brianenglish.com

Composer Brian English has appropriately named his debut album “Beyond Words”, a name which is appropriate for a number of reasons. The first reason is somewhat obvious: the entirety of this epic release – it runs nearly 70 minutes – is instrumental, although instrumental seems the wrong word. It’s as if “instrumental” is a word too small for this music. Indeed, English goes ‘beyond’ instrumental, blurring the boundaries of ambient, trip-hop and synthpop with his experimental brand of electronic.
Of course, as with much experimental electro, some of the twenty-one tracks on “Beyond Words” are an acquired taste, featuring bizarre, unidentifiable noises, sometimes uncomfortable time signatures and weird chord combinations, but what’s intriguing about this album is that even when the sounds make a listener uncomfortable, they’re still captivating. To name a standout track on “Beyond Words” is to insult its twenty brothers and sisters, although the otherworldly “Scatting Loons” and the hypnotizing – is it harpsichord? – in “Resynth and Relax” were especially moving, but, again, for reasons mostly unexplainable.
And that brings us to our last clever (hardly) analogy to the album title: this is one of those purely enjoyable albums, though the words don’t come to explain why it’s so enjoyable. It is truly ‘beyond words’. It simply is.

[10/10]

— Tiara Lynn Agresta