Album Reviews

Peter Murphy – Dust

(Metropolis) UK release date: 5 August 2002


From the beginning of Things To Remember it is clear that ex-Bauhaus front man Peter Murphy has done more than just move to Turkey. On the evidence of this new album, he now lives and breathes the place.

Things To Remember, like the rest of Dust, features an eclectic mix of musicians from Turkey and Canada, including mindblowing violinist Hugh Marsh, to create a fusion of East and West. All the vocals are in English, while instrumentation is very firmly based on middle eastern songwriting techniques.

Murphy’s sepulchral baritone, which instantly reminds one of David Bowie, occasionally grates, but happily there are plenty of moments when the music itself, which is never less than fascinating, is given leave to escape on its own.

Fake Sparkle Or Golden Dust? mixes the fusion concept into something bordering on industrial rock, albeit featuring electric violin, a cello and a kemenche. It is a dark, brooding and mysteriously spiritual track of devotional proportions, expertly performed.

No Home Without Its Sire continues the eastern theme into the kind of territory inhabited to grand effect by Ozric Tentacles and Gong, with highly rhythmic guitar plucking and a gentle, chemically induced beat. Just For Love cranks up the pace of a similar musical theme, the percussion part driving an ever faster tempo, as violin and synth-didgeridoo madly zig-zag about to a whirling, ecstatic conclusion somewhere impressively near where banghra might be found.

There are dodgier moments, such as the painfully slow and rather too long Girlchild Aglow and Jungle Haze. These are amongst several tracks that needlessly last for over seven minutes – and would have benefited from some timely editing. Even here though the instrumentation and arrangement is inventive and evocative. And while the heartbeat-led Your Face features superb use of synths and rhythm under vocals which sound more like William Wallace’s Braveheart battle cry of “Freedom!” than love song musings, the track drags its way to just shy of nine minutes.

Dust would likely have been a more impressive record without Murphy’s vocals all over it, and if it had been twenty minutes shorter. But Murphy should at least be credited with a spirited attempt at fusing Arabic music with his own style, and with producing one of the most individual albums of the year.


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More on Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy @ Scala, London
Peter Murphy – Dust
Peter Murphy @ Union Chapel, London