This is Wilson T King’s (Tim Wilson to his parents) second album and it follows his first, ‘Follow Your First Mind’, by being deeply intense, dark and steeped in a hundred years of Blues tradition. He coined the term ‘Future Blues’ to describe his first album and this remains in the future, eschewing the bland copycat playing of so many and creating a new guitar vernacular as he uses his music to express himself.
Frankly, it is one of the most difficult albums I have ever had for review – he has no singular manner of playing the guitar; he tears notes from it that could easily presage the cataclysmic power of the end of days or at other times he plays with a delicacy that is almost unmatched today - but he is still using a guitar, primarily a Strat: the instrument of Hendrix, Beck, Green, Clapton and Cobain as well as the toy enjoyed by a hundred million wannabees, and yet he is saying things that I have simply not heard before.
There are echoes of his influences, of course there are, but he is using them as a vehicle to drive onward and forward and outward and the playing seems to match alongside his softly crooned vocals to provide the perfect counterpoint to each other. He sings on ‘This Mountain of Fire’ while his guitar suggests the pain in angular and pointed bursts before breaking into a full-on solo that seems to drive ever upward towards an inevitable fade out. He plays acoustics as well but usually as a set up to the power to follow as on ‘Born Into This’ where his axe howls and wails like a caged and demented beast eventually blasting out in anger and loaded with passion. One of the remarkable things about King’s playing is the language and throughout the album his guitar creates images that should only be possible through lyrics and language but you feel the passion and the pain, the stories he tells with his guitar almost more clearly than his vocals. On ‘Edge of Forever’ his vocals set you up for the loneliest sound I have ever heard – you can almost see the void stretching away – and in that one moment you have the essence of his playing.
To quote the man himself “. Like the first record, there is a deliberate artistic avoidance of the cliché ridden karaoke modern blues scene. The title refers to the oncoming Kurzweilian Singularity as we are the last to be free of bio-tech innovation, it also is an analogy for the crossroads music is at where we have computer corrected music and real music that maintains the soul and heart of the human performance.”
His is an original and driven talent with a great depth of flavour for taking that which works forward rather than leaping from musical branch to branch.
He is backed by the drumming of the admirable Wayne Proctor and his percussion doesn’t so much drive the music as fill in the gaps wherever necessary. Josh Lattanzi (Bass) of Norah Jones/Lemon Heads/Albert Hammond Jnr fame delivered bass playing as complex as King’s guitar and Dan Whitley brother of the late blues genius Chris Whitley played awesome harmonica on ‘Bury Me With The Bible’.
I thought long and hard about the rating for this album – frankly it deserves a sixth star but I had to settle for 5.