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Jeremy TuplinJeremy Tuplin
Album: I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut
Label: Folkwit
Tracks: 12

Welcome to the world of Jeremy Tuplin - purveyor of the intimate and the cosmic -AND the new genre of space folk.

Words are already being whispered in high places and the corridors of power as he comes riding the tide of a couple of independently released EPs which have caught the ears of Tom Robinson and the Telegraph Culture Section. So does the debut album live up to expectation?

Recorded in both the confines of the studio and the comfort of the living room, 'I Dreamt…' also combines the organic and natural sounds of acoustic instruments with electronic and synthesised sounds. A retro-futuristic feel from which his 'space folk' term evolves. It might not ebe a radically not a new idea to fuse traditional folk instrumentation with electronic features (ask Martin Green and Lau for starters) although the Tuplin vision moves in a dreamy and tranquil direction. Like Ted Hughes' Iron Man and maybe a bit of Vangelis, it results in the music of the spheres.

There's a namecheck for David Bowie (obviously the 'Space Oddity' version) in the opening "something bigger than you, something bigger than me" thoughts of 'Albert Einstein Song' that muses on the nature of the universe and sets the tone for the underlying theme of escapism. First impressions are that although he's gained lots of Cohenesque comparisons, vocally there's a hint of a cross between a subdued Jake Thackray and a ruminating Roger Waters in the articulation of the half spoken vocal lines.

Rumbling and tumbling with shafts of fiddle and washes of keyboard ambience, you can appreciate where Tom Robinson's description of "unconventional" comes from. Developing into a little bit of Eurovision space folk electro funk on 'O Youth!' and a cowboy vibe on 'Did We Lose The Fight?' there's an essential simplicity that runs through the album that begins with 'Anybody Else'. The acoustic guitar based material combined with a reedy distant organ and speckles of electric guitar is clearly where the Cohen comparisons gain weight along with the masterfully mournful delivery. Rounding off the journey with a gently pulsing and faraway 'Astronaut' that gives the album its title and a sense that "has it all been a dream?" However, don't be fooled by the possible anticipation of space cadet meanderings as Jeremy Tuplin is more about an astute originality. An eye opener for the cosmically challenged.

Mike Ainscoe