There are times when you just wish that an artist would stop plugging away at an album they’ve just released. A classic example? Florence And The Machine. She’s constantly releasing single after single from her much-lauded debut album and it’s now at a point where it would be much better for her to lay low for a while. It’s all shrewd in a business sense, and quite possibly one of the few ways for labels to make money off releases, but it is a nuisance. That said, the last person you’d expect to exhaust material from their recent album is DM Stith.
Last year, David Michael Stith released a rather interesting nugget of an album called Heavy Ghost that mixed an intriguing voice with a unique sound palette. A year later, we’re being treated to Heavy Ghost Appendices, a two-disc compilation of alternate takes, covers, remixes and demos from that period of his artistic career. At first it’s very hard to see what exactly there is to gain from this and, after spending time listening to it all, you do wonder if it’s merely just a release that screams out “Hey, if you liked what I did last time around, then look at what else I can do!”
The first disc focuses more on alternate takes and covers. Out of the two discs, this is by far and away the better of the two since it, at the very least, tries to give the listener some information as to how Heavy Ghost might otherwise have sounded. A version of Pigs featuring the Jefferson Street Band and a brass version of Braid Of Voices are signs of other influences in DM Stith’s work that might well be elaborated on in future releases. There’s also a cracking cover of The Ronettes‘ Be My Baby, which is mystical and ghostly.
The second disc is nearly all remixes, bar a jazzy cover of Thanksgiving Moon by Dayna Kurtz, and is far less successful. The majority of the remixes are nothing particularly bad – Michna‘s take on Thanksgiving Moon has a nice rhythm to it, for example – but there’s nothing truly adventurous. As such, what could have been a disc full of interesting and imaginative reinterpretations ends up being something over-familiar, ordinary and standard.
So is this worth owning? If you were someone willing to splash the cash out of curiosity then this is for you. But while there is potential for this collection of odds and ends to be something worthwhile, Appendices comes across as bloated and lacking in consistency. If Heavy Ghost is already pride of place in your record collection then there isn’t any need to purchase this, nor should this be the first port of call for newcomers. It’ll probably be forgotten about very quickly as thoughts turn to the follow-up record.