‘Sparkling music, beautiful lyrics. Fantastic debut with Gunther Verspecht who sings like you've never heard him sing before. Highly recommended!’ (Kris De Bruyne)
Isle Of Men is the band surrounding music journalist and guitarist Dirk Fryns, Gunther Verspecht (Stash) and all-round pianist Tom Van der Schueren. After four years of searching, their debut, ‘Voluntary Blindness’, was finalised in the house of double bass player Arne van Dongen (traditionally trained, played with all the big orchestras but also at home in jazz, world music, folk, etc.) in Oeudeghien, at a stone's throw from Ronse. Windows wide open, a view of the hills and in the exquisite company of Luc Vanden Bosch, a jazz drummer with a history in pop, rock, classical music and even heavy metal. Producer on duty was Herman – HT Roberts – Temmerman who made sure five days were enough for a solid, emotional foundation and not a note too many was played. Brief guitar overdubs, Gabriela Arnon's backings (a Parisian with American roots), Niels Delvaux' percussion and Mattias Laga's clarinet provided the final touch.
‘Voluntary Blindness’ – the title came about after talking to successful thriller author Karin Slaughter – will be released by the unsurpassed Starman Records, a label with a preference for Belgian musical heritage, new work and vinyl.
‘It's a night record’, says Dirk. ‘It's hard to say what genre it is but they are, and remain, primarily songs. They hit you, or they don't, and that is how you listen to this record. Friends and relatives who have heard the record, have mentioned names such as The Blue Nile, David Sylvian, Ray Lamontagne or Nick Drake. In great company in other words.’
But ‘Voluntary Blindness’ is also about lyrics where every word is where it should be. The recurrent theme – if there is one – throughout the record is a call for compassion for our failures as people. And everyone fails at a particular time in their lives, be it relationally or professionally.
Total surrender (‘Waves’), the need to mentally scrub yourself (‘Dragonfly Skin’), infidelity (‘Voluntary Blindness’), good resolutions (‘A Man Far From True’), pure wanting (‘Heatwave’), erotic feverous dreams and the naked truth (‘A Thousand Nudes’), the strength to get your life on track again (‘The Devil’s Bones’), etc. Life and love as a minefield but never without hope...
1. Strange Love
3. The Devils Bones
4. Dragonfly Skin
5. A Thousand Nudes
6. A man Far from true
9. Your Gracious Fire
11. Voluntary Blindness
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