2001 – Warp – 43 minutes
Vincent Gallo is probably better known to most people as an aesthetically pleasing star of 'Buffalo '66', as a movie director or more obscurely as a leading expert on analogue equipment. A notoriously difficult interviewee, most who have encountered him can't decide whether he's eccentric or just plain cuckoo. That aside, for the purposes of this review, he's the mastermind behind the achingly beautiful songs on 'When'.
The low-fi end of the Warp spectrum is usually occupied by brooding electronica so Gallo's whispered compositions seem a little out of place next to noisemongers like The Aphex Twin. The polar opposite of Mr Window Licker's musical mayhem, these songs shimmer like gentle filigrees.
Instrumental opener 'I Wrote This Song For The Girl Paris Hilton' hints at Tortoise-influenced composition. The title track's brilliance lies in its simplicity, and this seems to be the musical premise for the whole album. Gallo wears his heart on his sleeve for 'Laura' and 'Yes I'm Lonely', winning us over completely.
Not only does he write, sing and produce every song on this record, he also plays every instrument himself. His previous work has mainly constituted instrumental soundtracks but 'When' showcases his soothing and heartfelt vocal abilities.
This is a very special record, a timeless canvas of emotive pieces that refuses to be stereotyped. 'When' revels in quiet absence and celebrates a particular brand of emotional experience. Bound to melt away your winter blues.