First posted on echoesanddust.com.
Across an incredibly extensive career, musician and song-writer Will Oldham has offered up an incredibly array of releases under the moniker of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, weaving together mystical elements pulled out of some belly of some mystical and ethereal beast. Oldham’s latest release sees himself teaming up with experimental rock group Watter, and Stillwater Artisanal (A brewery/art company based in Baltimore), all released under the new name of Bonnie Stillwater. The new collaborative release features the incredible title track, as well as a remix from Ex-Tortoise member Bundy K. Brown, whose contribution to the release feels every bit as relevant and important as the title track itself.
‘The Devil Is People’ showcases once again Oldham’s fantastic ability to weave together musical elements and lyrics, backed up by phenomenal contributions by Watter who cement their importance on the recording with effortless ease. Whilst Oldham himself is at the forefront of the tracks, singing of mysterious forces with an almost ethereal yet accessible quality, the collaborative efforts themselves between Oldham and Watter result in a record where every element and technique is as important as each other, showcasing a fine combination of talents and ideas between the respective artists themselves, including Brown’s remix which acts almost like a secondary chapter to the journey as opposed to a simple reinterpretation.
Oldham and Watter’s collaborative release showcases an incredible passion in the creation of music, one where all those involved understand and buy into the concept being presented. Although the musical elements sometimes border the inaccessible, mostly in the incredibly dark and unsettling tone of the music itself, it still comes across as an incredibly vital and important musical release, and one that highlights the respective talents of the artists at some of their best. Although there’s only two tracks being released at this time, there’s enough here to understand the underlying concepts of what is being created, as well as its importance.
Oldham & Watter’s new collaborative effort comes across as one of the most interesting and engrossing releases from Oldham in recent years. ‘The Devil Is People’ doesn’t overshadow any previous effort from any of the musicians, but instead elevates itself as a strong release all on its own merits, joining alongside the many strong prior releases with comfortable ease. Each and every element injected into the tracks seem to just work, offering up a very dark and almost harrowing musical experience that compliments those involved. It’s a very short listening experience at just roughly ten minutes, but it’s all you really need.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- The Devil Is People
- The Devil Is People (The Cheech Wizard’s Hemiolic Chantey at the Edge of the Anthropocene Epoch)
Bonnie Stillwater’s latest release ‘The Devil Is People’ is out now.