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Nick Beggs: The Darkness In Men's Hearts

Album Review

Ironically titled two-handed tannery from the pop-turned-prog ace.

If anyone'll know what a Chapman Stick is it's a Pros reader, but just in case: it's that instrument that looks like two guitar necks stuck together, and gives the player the piano-like flexibility to play bass, rhythm and lead simultaneously. You've probably seen Tony Levin tapping away on one, but Nick Beggs is another notable exponent.

He's long cast off the espadrilles of his career as the second most famous member of Kajagoogoo, and the likes of Steven Wilson will tell you he's a major asset to any prog band now, on bass and Stick.

His debut FOR the Burning Shed label, The Darkness In Men's Hearts brings together the pieces he's recorded on the instrument on previous solo albums, The Stick Insect (hall and The Maverick Helmsman (eh?). With wafty, new age titles like The Meaning Of Everything, Willow and Kumara, these plangent, atmospheric tunes will promote alpha waves in your brain, with clean tones, arrangements almost baroque in their symmetry and hypnotic rhythms arising from the two-handed fretting technique the Stick demands. Two new pieces - the title track and closer After The Wave - bookend this virtuosic and highly listenable collection.

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