Album Review: Brudini – From Darkness, Light

Self-recorded and self-produced, Brudini’s debut LP From Darkness, Light is out on Apollon Records on 9th October 2020. After hanging up his gloves from a career in finance and as co-owner of The Society Club in London, Thai-Norwegian Erik Brudvik’s debut album as Brudini speaks of a life spent journeying and of a man who has traversed seemingly contradictory worlds before finding his creative voice. 

Coined by Louder Than War as “an indescribable talent”, Brudini has drawn praise from NYC punk legend Danny Fields (Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, The Ramones) and received continued radio support from BBC6, RadioX, and been featured on Radio 2’s Frank Skinner. His live performances include collaborations with Lulu Gainsbourg, appearances at Tate Britain and a sold-out Soho alt-cabaret with LGBTQ-pioneer Lanah P and Erasure´s Andy Bell.

Soul searching and profound, Brudini’s conceptual LP debut From Darkness, Light weaves an abstract, wandering tale through feelings of loss and longing, anger, lust and despair, towards cosmic consolation. The beatific qualities of his songwriting and lyrics fuse seamlessly with poems by Californian writer Chip Martin, at two generations his senior. The narrative comes alive through a visceral soundscape of creaky pianos, analogue synths, syncopated jazz rhythms and the occasional jarring distorted guitar. 

Opening with ‘Roselight’ (w Chip Martin), this has fragile vocals and equally fragile and minimal piano. The delivery of the spoken word lyrics is measured and the imagery invokes Raymond Chandler/James El Ellroy esque pulp fiction. Single ‘Nightcrawler’ is a brooding and beautifully sung track that owes a lot to Radiohead. It’s punctuated with noisy guitars breaks, but never veers away from it’s sole purpose of being a gorgeous ballad. ‘Hunger’ (w Chip Martin) is another spoken word interlude with evocative poetry set against atmospheric sounds and minimalist beats. Lovely stuff!

‘Reflections’ has another menacing creep that owes much to Oxford’s finest, but this is not a criticism. Brudini’s music stands up on it’s own perfectly and this is yet another gorgeously sung song with beautiful orchestration, piano and the occasional wonk. It seeps under your skin. You’ll be humming this tune for days to come. ‘Pale Gold’ has a tuba oompah running throughout and combined with the other wind instruments that are introduced,  this gives the track a lovely New Orleans feel. A great stomp!

‘God Unknown’(w Chip Martin) is another spoken word piece which is accompanied by ethereal sounds and gentle piano. Just sublime stuff going on here. And this leads seamlessly into ‘Radiant Man’ which is a piano led torch song that once again showcases the immense talent that is Brudini.

‘Ariel’ (w Chip Martin) is yet another beautiful spoken word performance and it leads straight into ‘Everything is Movement’ This track  dips and soars and is a rollercoaster ride across it’s 6.29. Yet again it shows off Brudini’s vocal range and storytelling ability off to a tee. This and the final closing track ‘Boulevards’ should leave you in no doubt that Brudini is a serious talent and needs to be heard.

There is a fragility and vulnerability that Brudini exudes that is addictive and just a joy to listen to. I’m expecting big things from Brudini off the back of this debut LP. Lazy comparisons are Radiohead and Nick Cave, however, as the album progresses, the influences become broader and more experimental. The tracks remind one of performers like Marc Almond and Leonard Cohen. It’s genuinely hard to pigeonhole Brudini as he is just unique. This album is a triumph.

Review by Ioan Humphreys

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