Album review: TONY LOWE & ALISON FLEMING – Human Sleeping

Tony Lowe & Alison Fleming - Human Sleeping

Sunn Creative [Release date 01.07.14]

Tony Lowe came to our attention for his contribution to the latest Bram Stoker album.  He wasn’t on that band’s debut in 1972 but has worked with Julian Lennon, Roger Daltrey and many others as both producer and session player.  His latest project is the result of a collaboration with Alison Fleming with whom he worked in 2006 on their initial release ‘All Of The Above’.

It’s best to describe ‘Human Sleeping’ as ambient groove.  It’s a very easy listen, never grating and warmly infectious.  It reminds me of a more ambient version of the album Geoff Downes made with Ann-Marie Helder (‘Electronica‘).   Like that album it will – sadly – probably only find a reception in niche quarters but is just as worthy of your investigation.

Three decades ago it would have been described as new age.  But whereas much new age music is fairly bland, wallpaper music this album offers more in terms of playability.

Fleming’s voice is used more for tonal colour, edited and effected in places rather than as a conventional vocalist.  On ‘Human Rising’, for example, there is an Enya-feel to the layering whilst Lowe’s guitar comes from the Rothery-via-Gilmour-school, adding suitably coruscating runs.  In other places, this sounds like Sonja Kristina and Marvin Ayres’ ambient excursions as Masque or a more ethereal Kate Bush.

The prog-de-resistance here is the 11 minute ‘The Dream Corridor’ where Fleming sounds like an early-period Sam Brown.  This more processed use of vocals and the treatment of the guitars underpinned by mildly dance beats makes for a very immersive experience.   If Steve Hogarth was female and Marillion went a bit new age, it may well sound like this.   ****

Review by David Randall

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