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Todd Dillingham - 'Songcycle2011' (discofair) 5/5

Now for those of you who have not encountered the genius that is Todd Dillingham before, here's a brief history lesson for you. Todd was born into and became part of of the classic 'Canterbury Sound' movement of British psychedelia in the late 60's and early 70's. and hanging out with the likes of Camel, Caravan, Soft Machine, Gong etc it was bound to rub off. It was in a little known cult outfit called Bevis Frond that he started to cut his music teeth, then when Bevis Frond lost bassist Adrian Shaw to Hawkwind and went their seperate ways, he carried on with a number of short lived projects; but it was with the birth of the home recording boom in the late 1980's when Todd came into his own. First up there was an eponymous cassette album which won him many plaudits and rave reviews and then the flood gates opened. To date there have been over 30 Todd Dillingham albums, many featuring such luminaries of the British psyche scene as Richard Sinclair (Caravan), Adrian Shaw (Hawkwind), Andy Ward (Camel), Jimmy Hastings (Soft Machine) and Mike Wedgeward (Curved Air). Now based in Florida in the US of A Todd is continuing to bring out new material, and now we have his latest opus 'Songcycle 2011'.

Now this one starts fairly typically for a Todd album, with On the Way Home, a fine cut of chilled out acoustically lead acid psychedelia that has all the classic Todd hallmark influences in it, The Beatles, The Monkees, Caravan etc... but then things get really interesting. For second track up we hit the main body of the album the thirty two minutes long suite that is Songcycle 2011.

Basically Songcycle 2011 is a wander though Todds back catalogue, but this is no greatest hits retrospective, or best of revisited. Far from it, working with highly rated Dutch producer and musician Wim Oudijk Mr Dillingham has re-recorded and some times remixed some of his most memorable numbers including, The Chosen Few, Burning Deck and Indiana Home, blended in contributions from the likes of New York singer songwriter Debstar, cult banjo picker Pete McCabe, uke wizard Peter McPartland (The Big I Am), ex Hawkind bassist Adrian Shaw and others; and created a vast psychedelic oratorio that is breath taking in scope, and simply stunning in its realisation. Wim Oudijks orchestration is subtly done adds the perfect background and linking sections for Todds songs and the whole piece hangs together as if it was penned as a single piece of music.

As I said before all the Todd hallmarks are present and correct, we get sad plaintiff moments, some glorious acid fueled freakout moments, dashes of English folk and Americana,  some classical progressive bits, even touches of rock and roll and lots and lots of good old Canterbury influenced psychedelic trip moments. Hell, works like this are at the very cutting edge of music in general, and I'm sure that this would go down a storm if performed at the Royal Albert Hall as part of next years proms season.

Add in the orchestral hidden bonus track from Wim Oudijk, which draws on Todds melodic themes and ideas and you have an album that is not only a real treat for the ears, but one of the most unique and innovative records that I have heard in long time.

Whether your familiar with Todd Dillinghams music already, or just 'Todd Curious', I can recommend this record as one that you will, buy love and treasure forever.

(But hurry, this album is limited to just 300 CD copies and a limited download period, and its selling fast, so get your copy now before its too late)

For Fans of... Caravan, The Beatles, The Pillbugs, Dog Age, This Crooked Axis etc...

To purchase this album follow this link...

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