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Watching You
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CHARLES HAYWARD (Begin Anywhere)

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Charles Hayward is an English drummer and was a founding member of the experimental rock groups This Heat and Camberwell Now. He also played with Mal Dean's Amazing Band, Dolphin Logic, and gigged and recorded with Phil Manzanera in the group Quiet Sun project as well as a short stint with Gong. He was a session musician on The Raincoats' second album, Odyshape, and on one occasion played drums for the anarchist punk band Crass. Since the late 1980s he has concentrated on solo projects and collaborations, including Massacre with Bill Laswell and Fred Frith. His first solo record, Survive the Gesture, was released in 1987. Since then, he has released 10 more long players, and has been touring with the reformed This is not This Heat. (Begin Anywher)e is his brand new solo album and shows a different side to the Charles Hayward we know. The drum set is left in the corner (except for one song) and instead we get fragile yet powerful songs on piano and voice. There's also melodica, coco whistle, bass guitar and some percussion. A very personal Hayward album, let yourself be surprised. Full tracklist: 1. Watching You 2. Safe As Houses 3. Rattlesnake 4. Slow Train 5. The Camera, The Actor 6. Out Of It 7. Alphabetical Order 8. Unknown Unknowns 9. Begin Anywhere. Price: € 18,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.

Featuring nine songs for piano and voice with the sparest of overdubbed percussion, whistles and effects, Begin Anywhere casts Haywards voice in a mood of intimate vulnerability. In this light, his lyrics shine with a certain child-like simplicity, as on Rattlesnakes with its colouring crayon sketch. (...) There is an economy in this kind of imagery that bespeaks deceptive artfulness. (...) A simple song like Rattlesnakes shimmers with an aura of illusion, as though somewhere, just out of reach, lies a deeper, more universal truth.
(The Wire, May 2019)

Siamo dalle parti del Peter Hammill più minimale, del Robert Wyatt su Rough Trade, una essenzialità priva di compromessi sostenuta dalla consapevolezza che “la canzone è il centro della musica” anche se scrivi pièce sperimentali intitolate 30 Minute Snare Drum Roll. (...) Watching You, in apertura, mette subito le carte in tavola: poche note introduttive che aprono la strada a una voce che con gli anni ha guadagnato in espressività, una rotondità melodica che non aggira gli spigoli ma piuttosto li ingloba. Rattlesnake gioca sul rapporto stretto tra suono e significato, e ancora di più lo fa Slow Train, costruita sul lessico essenziale del blues, e poi arriva The Camera, The Actor, il brano più intenso di un disco senza pelle: la vita come un film di cui siamo artefici e protagonisti ma su cui, ossessionati dal tempo che passa, non avremo mai il controllo completo. Disco da playlist di fine anno.
(RMA, June 2019)

For the new solo project, Begin Anywhere, Hayward brings together an unusual set of songs. Nine tracks that see the musician set aside the drums, for a sequence of ballads for piano and voice that touch poetic shores very similar to the intimacy of David Sylvian and Peter Hammill. Easy to get lost among the plots of the album, for a long time you did not listen to such an intimate and raw confession, Hayward digs deep in the compositions stripping them of those useless embellishments that would have transformed Begin Anywhere in a record event and that on the contrary will have to wait perhaps decades to be properly assimilated. The musician walks with certainty in the same solitary and painful meanders of albums such as Tilt by Scott Walker or Rock Bottom by Robert Wyatt without ever recalling its aesthetic traits, but only the spiritual ones.
(Ondarock, July 2019)

Never one to rest on his laurels, (Begin Anywhere), his first solo LP since the This is not This Heat shows, marks a sharp departure from the knotty complexity of his landmark post-punk experiments, instead finding Hayward starkly exposed and building songs from the bare bones of piano and vocal in a manner which at times recalls John Cale, the solo work of Peter Jefferies from This Kind Of Punishment and perhaps Richard Youngs – another artist wary of his own comfort zone. There are links to the past (one track reinterprets a lyric from his criminally under-rated mid-80s work with Camberwell Now) but there isnt anything else in his vast, varied discography quite like this.
(News from Neptune Music, July 2019)

Ce nouvel album est une œuvre avant tout tres intime. L artiste est absolument seul, il dialogue avec lui-meme. Il se conte ses solitudes, ses craintes. L exercice pourrait à juste titre sembler excluant, il est au contraire des plus touchants. Charles Hayward chante les tourments d un homme avec une énergie vive mais aussi profonde, enfouie, quasiment indicible. Dans cette pièce où il est entré, il s interroge sur ses peurs: peur de décevoir ou de perdre un être cher (Watching You), peur de l ennui (Safe as Houses), peur d avoir peur (Rattlesnake), peur du mensonge (The Camera, The Actor), peur de la Fin (Perfect Storm). Mais le discours n est ni pathétique, ni mélancolique et il y a dans ce disque quelque chose d incroyablement rassurant. Dans ce tableau d un bleu sombre, dans cette Nuit comme l aurait dit Céline, luit une porte de sortie.
(Forces Paralleles, October 2019)