British artist Tom Fazzini (1960) is excited about the release of his new 7” record Castle On Wheels/Essence. In fact, on his MySpace page he mentions to be “as excited as I was when my first vinyl came out… 28 years ago.” Time for further exploration of this new two track A-side record.

Since 1984, Fazzini has sung, played and produced his experimental music as a solo artist and as part of A Small Good Thing. Known to use electronic and acoustic instruments, both narratives and singing and uncomfortable combinations over recognition, these two new tracks are rather surprising. This review is as experimental as Fazzini’s music usually is, more interpretation than facts. Firstly, Castle On Wheels.

A British boy tells the story about two little dogs going out for a walk in windy weather. He seems to be quoting the rhyming lines by heart. Castle On Wheels starts out playful with this little tale, leaving you thinking about these two dogs being blown away into the purple, cloudy sky, like an All Dogs Go To Heaven image. Then a guitar starts, rather loudly, intruding.

It took a while before I thought of the male voice that starts pointing out his castle on wheels, to very likely be a version of the boy in the beginning. All grown up now, wanting to say what’s on his troubled mind. Not too sure about all he’s on about, though ‘pieces of you all over the floor’ gives food for thought.

The fantasy image you might have just had, of dogs flying about in the purple, cloud covered sky, changes into a rather eerie one, where the poor barking sods are now seen through a window from inside an immense castle on wheels, on top of the cotton clouds. A man sitting in a corner, staring through the window, ignoring whatever is ‘on the floor’ behind him. As long as he’s safe in his castle on wheels and he can dream away, minding the clouds, he won’t have to face what will tear him apart. Though the lyrics are not easy to understand, it’s not hard to figure out what the wheels are for.

Then there is Essence, which starts off with a soothing, clear acoustic guitar, like a lullaby. Along the way the notes get more complex and higher, with a hint of voice here and there, though still playing the simplest tune, note after note. Needless to say and quite corny, Essence touches a nerve and makes me think of new beginnings.

As I mentioned before, both these tracks are not too experimental, something Fazzini is known to be. As you listen to Essence, you are somehow reassured its comfortable melody will finish like you expect it to. Makes you feel like a little child at Christmas, completely in your element. And when the Dr. Seuss like lyrics dawn on you, you are 8 years old again and you understand the world. It is time for bed and elephant dreams.

Words tumble and fall
and sometimes they have no meaning at all.
Greys to browns, verbs to nouns
And elephants happily blend

I cannot shake one thought about these two tracks. Although both are influenced by children and their fantasy world, one song could be meant for children’s ears, the other is definitely a story for the inner child in grown-ups. Seems to me this double A side record hás an A and a B side after all.
Buy “Castle on Wheels” from Juno Records

Tom Fazzini @ Facebook
Tom Fazzini @ MySpace