Friday 8 April 2016

Review: Nash The Slash – 'Dreams & Nightmares'

'Dreams & Nightmares'

Pioneering Canadian musician Nash The Slash may have flown under a lot of people's radars over he course of his 40 year career but his influence cannot be discounted in any way. A pivotal influence on a young Gary Numan and a host of other new wave artists for his progressive blend of synthesized sounds and garage rock attitude. The man behind the bandages, Jeff Plewman, sadly passed away in 2014, and the time is right for his classic albums to see a long overdue re-release.

'Dreams and Nightmares' was Nash The Slash's 1979 début album and sees the reclusive and enigmatic artist embark on a violin, synthesizer, and drum machine manifesto that blends the likes of Pink Floyd, Jean Michele Jarre, Walter Carlos, and Tangerine dream filtered through distopian sci-fi and surrealist art into a unique sonic tapestry.

Songs such as 'Islands', 'Ylla', 'Moon Curse', 'Til Death Us Do Part', and the wonderfully meandering 'Un Chien Andalou' (a soundtrack to the film of the same name) are stunning pieces of conceptual brilliance that show off the multi-instrumentalists raw and unbridled talent. They maintain a raw but cinematic style that is devoid of genre or trend and are still fascinating to listen to today.

Also included is the 'Bedside Companion' EP which explores earlier synthpop territory while maintaining a sense of grandiose scale with its instrumental construction. It's easy to hear how songs such as 'Fever Dream', 'Blind Windows', 'Masquerade' and 'The Million Year Panic' would shape ideas by the likes of Gary Numan, The Human League and OMD in the 1980s.

As you'd expect from an independent recording from the late 70s the sound quality is of its era, but it has been spruced up nicely for its re-release and sounds as good as it ever has.

This is a great album by a truly unique and sorely missed artist. His influence and talent defy categorisation. Always an outsider for the majority of his career these are a perfect retrospective in which modern listeners can explore his discography.  

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