Allister Thompson
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Allister Thompson

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"Infinities"

Allister Thompson is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is not afraid of the big themes that many in the s/sw genre seem to ignore in favor of introspective self-obsession. Now this collection is both a surprise and a revelation. All the voices and instruments are by Thompson, using guitars and various electronic, ambient textures. The songs are melodically strong and beautifully sung. The big themes (the purpose of life, inhumanity, alienation, our effect on the planet by our uncaring ignorant attitude towards the environment, mysticism and so on) are dealt with in a quiet, intelligent manner rather than passionate hysterics, and thus come over powerfully in a meditative way. Quiet honestly I was overwhelmed by this CD from my first listen. From the opener "Judgement Day" through such songs as "21st Century Anthem" with rich and frighteningly relevant descriptions of humanities' current predicament-having to get used to the loss and betrayal of dreams of utopia, of hope, of a soulful existence. "Galaxies Turn" reflects on how small we are against the wondrous immensity of space and of course what it and we mean to each other. Other noticable tracks include "Sleepless", "Pastorale", "When we were young", "Separation" and the most folk influenced song from this CD, "My Name is Death". There isn't a bad track on this CD however, and I would recommend anyone check it out -anyone with a human disposition that is. - Psych Van Het Folk, Belgium


"Infinities 2"

With so much music available to us all in the modern era, this album was very nearly overlooked. I had been provided it by the artist to hear a while ago and it had sat in the pile getting closer to the top for listening to. Thankfully Allister also sent a copy to WWW so we gave it immediate close attention and thank goodness we did. Although I have known him by email for a few months, I had not adequately realised how talented a musician and composer he is.
Allister’s album is called ‘Infinites’ and this is an apt title. His songs appear to be striving for a state of calmness and bliss. This bliss he compares to the emptiness of the cosmos and the silent contemplation of Tibetan monks who are heard at points throughout. Likewise his songs have a sense of space and stillness that is rarely found. They have a meditative quality but are always melodic and structured. His guitars are set carefully amongst very subtle expansive keyboards and layers. There is a gentle innocence and questioning of our existence that evokes Donovan.

The production is amazing for what is essentially a self-made album. This sounds far better than many albums released on major albums with a focus on instrument placement, the texturing of the sound and how the music supports the vocal. His vocals are free of irritating qualities and allow the listener to take in the lyrics.

If Pink Floyd had followed the sound of their ‘Meddle’ era and applied it to the song structures of their ‘Animals’ album, it would have approached this music. ‘Pastorale’ shows a stunning performer and song with a sense of invention in his melodies. Although definitely folk in structure throughout and especially on such as on ‘My Name Is Death’, finding comparison is hard as this is cosmic folk that is truly unique to the artist.

On this song Allister extends his linkages from bliss, space, contemplation and now death. Death seems to be considered an eternal respite whose spell cannot be broken by time. The next song ‘Separation’ floats on a bed of bent echoing electric guitar notes, suspended in eternal meditation.

‘Galaxies Turn’ is perhaps an unintentional companion to Porcupine Tree’s exquisitely lonesome song ‘Stars Die’. Indeed the more acoustic aspects of their music and related band No-Man is a relevant broad association to make in the music. ‘The Childless Mother’ has endlessly echoing guitars and weightless chord movements. It’s an incredible song and we don’t use this description lightly. It seems to do something in its structure and melody that we’ve not experienced and can’t quite articulate.

‘Sleepless’ sets a simple folk guitar amongst resonant phasing keyboards whereas ‘St. George’s Hill’ has a traditional folk melody played on a fuzz electric lead over soft acoustic guitars. This reminded me of the excellent Fresh Maggots or Milkwood Tapestry from the early 1970s.

‘The Final Songs’ could be his acceptance of the only enduring route to the calmness he seeks. When he sings simply ‘I hope you can hear the love in these words, for I loved you well in my own way, but there’s a time to leave to face the unknown, all I can offer you now is this song’ it feels as though it truly is a final statement. The choral vocals and child-like simplicity to the song are genuinely moving as Allister really does seem sincere. ‘what lies beyond, we’ll never know, maybe…. I’ll see you there’.

There are then two short instrumental pieces, lullabies to our final rest. No more words necessary on an album that might appear to be just another release amongst many and against expectation goes on to move the listener in ways that will stay with them always. - Woven Wheat Whispers, UK


"Infinities 3"

Mixing delicate Nick Drake Guitars with a beautiful and haunting voice, reminiscent of Alisdair Roberts or Alan Davidson, this is a high quality selection of songs that is timeless in its subtle enchantment.
Opening with “You Will Return”, it is immediately apparent that here is an artist with rare talent, the gentle rainfall guitar blending wonderfully with the contemplative lyrics to create a mesmerising slice of acoustic wizardry.
Featuring some delicately poised vocal overdubs and just the right amount of instrumental ornamentation, the album seems to flow like a river, gently caressing your soul as it talks of the joys and tears of existence, and our place in the universe, the lyrics dealing with melancholy in a sympathetic and beautiful way.
Possibly my favourite track on the album is the poignant “My Name Is Death”, concerning a farmer's meeting with death and the inevitable outcome of such a meeting, the tale orchestrated perfectly by the playing and quiet arrangement. Elsewhere on the album, “Judgement Day” is a mellow tune with some rustling percussion and a west-coast feel, whilst “Galaxies” is so beautiful it almost hurts.
With so much to enjoy and explore, this is an album you will find yourself returning to again and again, if only for the majestic “St George’s Hill”, another song tinged with sadness whilst being blessed with magic and a heart-stopping vocal delivery to take your breath away.
Available as a download from Allister's website, this is a classic in the making from an artist you will be hearing more about. Do yourself a favour and jump in early, you won’t regret a moment. - Terrascope Online


Discography

Infinities (2007)
Shadowlands (2009)

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Bio

Allister Thompson is a Toronto, Canada-based singer, songwriter and guitar player, whose music is inspired by the folk greats of the Seventies such as Tim Buckley, John Martyn, Sandy Denny and Nick Drake as well as early progressive rock groups like the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd and ambient music.

His first solo recording, "Infinities", was produced at home and has won many accolades in the alternative folk community.

After a varied career in bands, the highlight of which was a number of years spent with cult glam band Crash Kelly, he spent the winter of 2008/09 holed up at Studio W19 in Toronto with producer Michael Dilauro working on his first studio solo album, "Shadowlands".

The music on this record is a stew of different musical styles, ranging from melodic folk-rock to psychedelic pop, acid folk to symphonic progressive rock and ending with a 9-minute full blown Krautrock-esque piece featuring Mongolian-style throat singing.

"Shadowlands" is the culmination of years of writing and experimenting, as well as the fruit of months of creative collaboration between Allister and a large cast of singers and musicians on guitar, bass, drums, organs and mellotrons, violins, flutes, rainsticks and space cymbals.

more music samples can be found at:
http://allisterthompson.bandcamp.com