Catherine Graindorge & Hugo Race: it’s all rather low…in tone and resonance

18th March 2017

Title: Long Distance Operators

Label: Sub Rosa

Australian-born Race, musician, and Belgian-born violinist Graindorge have teamed up for this new album that was released on 6 February 2017. Race might be familiar to those who know groups such as world music outlaws, Dirtmusic, True Spirit and Fatalists but many more will associate him with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds plus post punk outfit, The Wreckery. Graindorge has worked with Belgian outfits Monsoon and Nox plus the likes of John Parish and Andrea Schroeder.

Long Distance Operators (LDO) is all about tension and atmosphere, playing with space, stretching the guitar notes, waiting for them to die, using space and silence, wordless voices, dark beats and lots and lots of reverb.

More than that, it’s about Race adopting his, “Let me tell you a spooky story while we toast marshmallows in this forest.” type of voice. Low, resonant, bass-ridden, considered and thoughtful, Race often dwells upon his lyric sounding like a a left-field version of Chris Rea. In fact, the more you listen to this CD, the more that Chris Rea’s style and performance approach takes over. Hence, Race sits, like a centrally positioned totem in this LP, allowing Graindorge’s violin to sweep in and around his form with a wraith-like flow, swishing, darting and, at times, draping herself over the Race presentation. Electronics are almost spiritual in tone and sustain offering…expectation. But they always give way to Graindorge who adds a valuable organic facet to the electronic washes and beats that infuse these songs.

In terms of mastering, the sonics are ok but do tighten up in and around the upper midrange during crescendos so there is a measure of compression – not a great deal but enough to apply a spotlight on the upper frequencies. Nothing to hamper your enjoyment too much.