Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The end of Gravenhurst

It's been a weeklong hiatus since last post; in the last seven days, Eric Garner's murderer was set free, leaving an entire country baffled, and in somewhat more obscure news, Nick Talbot passed away. Talbot, a writer, was better known to me (and many, surely) as Gravenhurst, an English musician who created delicate, melancholy folk for Warp Records.

I'd first learned of Gravenhurst in 2004, whilst working the obligatory college radio gig, and having received a copy of Flashlight Seasons for consideration, I immediately felt gripped, and of course included it in rotation. I couldn't not. In an excellent recent interview with Nothing But Hope And Passion, Talbot reflects on Flashlight Seasons in part by saying, "There are some overly-sentimental and mawkish moments on Flashlight that are a bit embarrassing," but there's nothing embarrassing about the record -- it is music that is constructed as simply as it ought to be, his voice understated, his lyrics intelligently written, stories about things like murder and emotional isolation. The world needed more literate songwriters to begin with, but we now need an additional one to compensate for the loss of Talbot.

At this moment, no cause of death has been released for the 37-year old's premature death, but I can't help but feel the same sort of disbelief and heartbreak I felt upon learning of 31-year old Jeff Hanson's death, which was also initially clouded in mystery until an autopsy revealed a drug overdose. The soft, introverted style with which Hanson sang probably added somewhat to the romance of his death, and surely the same could be said of Talbot. But this isn't where I speculate about suicide or overdoses or undiagnosed heart conditions, or pretend that death is in fact romantic. Instead I will mourn the early end of a career, marked by the 10-year anniversary of Flashlight Seasons and its re-release as part of a celebratory bundle, for which a promotional teaser of sorts had been put out just two weeks ago.

Here's one last, wonderful bit.

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