Soundtrack composers have plots and narratives to work
with. Dan Berridge has chronic fatigue, but still he's
managed to come up with these beautiful and complex
Doctors diagnosed the Broadway Project mastermind with
the debilitating syndrome a few years ago; they advised
him to find a creative outlet to relieve its symptoms. So he turned
to music-making; fighting the temptation to shut
down, he learned how to turn on.
Sometimes it's in our darkest moment that we learn to
shine the brightest. Berridge's second album, The
Vessel, is not so much a reflection of struggle,
or even survival, as of discovery. His awakening is required, not just desired,
real, not forced just like his music.
Having released a few EPs and two albums on London's
Memphis Industries, Broadway Project has won praise
from the likes of The Wire, Q and the BBC.
Originally released in the UK last year, The
Vessel only recently became available in the U.S.
via Doubling Cube Records.
The 13-track album is a warm, compelling collection of
jazz drumming, heavy beats, trickling keys,
mood-setting electronics and intricate, sometimes
Middle Eastern-sounding strings. Vocals, both male and female,
appear from faraway places but never stay
for very long. Rarely confined to structure,
Berridge's dreamy songs shift and flow like weather
patterns, never failing to leave an emotional impact
on the listener.
Listening to Berridge's sonic collages often feels like
watching a movie. Movements and emotions come
together, rising and falling, telling stories only you're free to make
On "Darkling," hovering above ominous drumming,
quivering violin, a distant horn and psychedelic
electronics, Berridge sings desperately, over and over, "Jesus, bring me rest."
With an album as touching as The Vessel,
he must have found it.