The last six years have seen Peter Broderick and Greg Haines undertake several interesting little musical journeys of their own. Both of their careers may have originated in the realm of modern classical music but neither has been content to stand still for too long, investigating different creative opportunities and subtly broadening their output along the way.
For Broderick this has meant releasing more music featuring his softly cast vocals while for Haines it has saw him write music for ballet, explore the various hues and moods of classical music in some depth and take impressive first steps into the world of electronic music.
Their coming together for Greg Gives Peter Space may on the surface represent the most eye-catching leap for both artists, seeing them united over their love of dub music (the bright, colourful album cover art achieves a similar visual result).
The strings that reside among the percussive clicks and knocks of opening track The Drive however prove that this won’t involve a complete jettisoning of their styles to date. It also serves to highlight an important point (that will come up again later) – this isn’t just Broderick and Haines merely trying to replicate the dub music that inspired them to make this album – in amongst the new sounds they have retained musical elements that listeners to their previous work (Broderick especially) will be familiar with. Indeed, on first listens it seems to represent more of a change for Haines than for Broderick (largely due to the prominent role afforded to vocals) yet there are moments on Where We Were, Haines’ album from last year that saw him utilising synths, dubby sounds and subtle syncopated rhythms to similar, more fully-realised effect.
The Feeling Shaker has an openness and looseness that momentarily recalls The Beta Band while the sense of sparseness is taken to an extreme on Electric Eel River, Broderick delivering his vocals over a barely plucked guitar backdrop.
At six tracks it is a short album and a feeling persists that it may have benefitted from a greater sense of scale. The final three tracks offer a glimpse of what this may have featured and are arguably where the most interesting moments occur (especially in the unwinding, echoing synths meeting reclining beats and hazy vocals on A Clear Dub, the track most obviously indebted to the genre). February Space Duet closes the album, with underplayed ambient sounds drifting away calmly to silence.
It is hard to get away from the view that a deeper, longer exploration may have yielded greater results but Greg Gives Peter Space is still a solid demonstration of two artists adding to their body of work whilst maintaining the spirit of collaboration and musical partnership that is clearly so important and valuable to them.