Longtime readers of this blog may remember a book review of “Nileism: The Strange Course Of The Blue Nile” by Allan Brown I posted about a year ago. In it I referred to a Paul Buchanan solo album in the can but tied up in legal proceedings between the fractious members of The Blue Nile. Well, I’d say that the mess has been sorted out, since on May 21st, the first Paul Buchanan solo album will be released; only eight years following the last album by The Blue Nile, 2004’s “High.” And I do mean the last album by The Blue Nile. Right on time, in other words.
His new album is called “Mid-Air” and it offers 14 new songs that were recorded by Buchanan both at a friend’s home as well as Gorbals Sound, a new SOTA studio in Glasgow. Word has it that the songs are relatively brief; most are under three minutes in length. Long time fans must be aware that he was flirting with this possibility when albums three and four by The Blue Nile had more than the requisite seven tracks. Even so, this must have raised eyebrows when he delivered the masters to his new label, Newsroom Records. In any case, don’t expect a redux of The Blue Nile’s trademark spacious electro-minimalism. These songs are pretty much voice and piano based.
I must say the cover is a striking departure. As is commonplace today, the album is available for pre-order right now on paulbuchanan.com in a number of popular formats/packages. I’ll outline them here for your edification.
- Digital Download – 14 tracks – MP3/FLAC/Apple Lossless – £7.99
- Standard CD – 14 tracks in jewel box – £9.99
- Album – 14 tracks – ltd. ed. 1000 copies, 180 g. vinyl/MP3s – £14.99
- Deluxe CD box – 7″ x 7″ box, ltd. numbered ed. of 2000 copies, 14 track CD1, bonus exclusive 10 track CD2, 20 p. 7″ lyric/photo booklet – £25.99
Those who know how The Monk rolls must already realize that I’ve pre-ordered the dlx boxed set! Though I may rail against exploitative music releasing practices, there’s a certain price point where I’m a happy camper to pay for something nice, and this set is well below my pain threshold! The buy-in for ten tracks of exclusive music is a relatively modest £15.00! After conversion and charges, I’m looking at about $55.00 here [including international shipping]. Heck, I’ve seen the “Happiness” singles [which -gulp- I still need] going for that much in aftermarket pricing!
Buchanan’s website has a link to a pre-release download of “My True Country” available right now for a donation to the British Heart Foundation if you have the impetus and can’t wait until May 21st. I’ve had no middle ground on his work in the past. Three of his albums I love, with the first two accorded classic status. “Peace At Last” was the odd one out. I’ll be interested to hear, come two months time [with shipping], to see on which side of the line of demarcation his newest work falls. When you’re as careful and deliberate a musician as Buchanan is, it pays for his fans to have some patience.
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