K69996roma – Nick Hudson (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Most music is made with only entertainment in mind. Some might occasionally give you something to think about. Less often it might inform you or at least have immersed you, however briefly, in a place new and unexpected. Very rarely does it present whole new and beguiling topics to muse upon, does it make you want to get to the end of playing the record and immediately go and research more about that subject. Nick Hudson makes music that not only does the latter but does so via music as deft, unique, intriguing and controversial as the messages that they carry.

“K69996ROMA:EP’ is the shadow cast in the desert by the brutalist garret of ‘Font Of Human Fractures‘ – like ‘Amnesiac’ to its ‘Kid A’, if you will,” is how Nick views this set of eight songs in relation to his own creative musical canon.

Once you are aware that the opening, titular track, The Ballad Of K69996 Roma, is about bestowing a conscience upon the slick Alfa Romeo car that was owned by and weaponised in the 1975 murder of queer Marxist filmmaker, poet and essayist Pier Paolo Pasolini, it is clear to see that you are in very rarefied territory indeed. A dark and delicious, piano ballad, one that seems to push even that familiar form along some lateral creative pathways; it not exactly sets the musical tone for this eclectic and almost academic record but certainly provides a creative benchmark. Expect the unexpected is perhaps written between its lines.

You Eat With Your Eyes is an on/off clash of flickering sonics and explosive alt-rock, Amber and The Ambergrines is a gorgeous blend of otherworldly voices, occasionally sounding like a ghostly choir of Beach Boys come back to chill and charm in equal measure and A Congregation of One is glitchy and fractured, odd and addictive.

If you want to know what it is Nick Hudson does, then it takes a better man than me to put it into easy soundbites. But then the most creative artists are never captured in such ways. What K69996roma offers is just one view of his awesomely creative world. It isn’t necessarily representative, it probably isn’t even a snapshot, it doesn’t represent a signature style and genres have been left way behind. It is at most just a taste of where he was at one moment, what he felt the urge to build his songs out of and what he wanted to say.

Tomorrow, things will be different, in what way, who can say. Just enjoy the moment that you find yourself in and know that whatever comes next, just as what went before, will probably be radically different and no less challenging. The world could do with more artists like Nick Hudson!

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