Pretend for the moment that ‘weird’ can be used for descriptive purposes, without the negative connotations. Then we can happily call Transatlantic Meditation by London’s Ed Ling a little weird. Weird, as in individual, different, and a very strong debut release.
The album is a genre defying journey, full of big ideas and sounds, and displaying a great deal of promise. The album is part folk, part 80’s synth pop, part 70’s disco funk, and sometimes all of those in one song. Ling’s voice is at times reminiscent of the flat tones of Damon Albarn, whilst there are hints of Midlake, and perhaps even The Smiths. Ling admits himself that he struggled to define his music into any specific genre, so instead combined his broad influences into his own blend of music.
Album opener ‘Everything is Overground’ starts with an intro that could be straight out of Sergeant Peppers’, before settling into 70’s psychedelic disco funk, with an extremely abrupt breakdown half way through the track. In what is a feature throughout the album, there are some rather sudden turns in the song, certainly never giving the listener a chance for complacency.
First single ‘Swimmers’ sounds like it could be out of a Tarantino film, perhaps more Kill Bill than Pulp Fiction. Written partly in Mexico and London (hence the title) the jarring piano and reverbed guitar gives the track an eerie edge. The chorus line stays in your head, ‘It’s a beautiful world, I want to share it with you.’ Indeed it is a beautiful world Ed, and we are glad you shared.
The album retains a lo-fi feel, despite the layered production, due to the push and pull of tempo throughout, and the variety of sounds. Recorded partly in a rural Suffolk church, an abandoned chocolate factory and rather unexpectedly a Mexican beach, the recording still manages to maintain consistency.
The press release states that Ling has ‘an eclectic approach to song writing and arrangement’. Whether the turns and changes are a deliberate song-writing ploy, or just Ling finding his way on his debut release, is up for discussion. Either way, the album displays a lot of promise, and gives us a lot of excitement for what he has to offer next.