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Baz Corden - _You are here

2009-03-10 07:49
_you are here
That's how it starts out. The guy looks like a pretentious nerd. And that, my friend, is a bad combination.

But - like that old friend who always annoys you with random monologues but whom you just can't live without - "Baz" becomes easier and easier to have around, and more and more part of your headspace, until you're eventually confessing you love him, and singing along to the "Electric Angel" chorus: "The stars are broken in your sky tonight…"


Although this singer songwriter from Durban does seem to be a professional weirdo, he's a very professional weirdo, whose bizarre combination of keen melodic sense, and honest but sometimes gormless lyrics is either going to be a big hit, or miss completely. His sleepy surfer vocals, Chris Letcher-influenced melodies and plucked-guitar-led arrangements are like a warm, overcast day on Durban's beachfront. A little bit pensive, a little tatty, but lush and hopeful too.

This style may be unfamiliar to those who don't know KZN-folk sounds (Syd Kitchen, Guy Buttery, Nibs van der Spuy, and other stalwarts of the scene like say, Nux Schwartz…) but committed Durbanites won't be able hear these songs without seeing the faces of the guys who've gone before.

Shifting from moments of sweetness - if not happiness - to the depths of despair, and waking to "a sense of loss, stillborn thoughts and broken hearts" Baz digs around in his brain with a penknife and scoops out nuggets of wisdom, and madness - some things make sense, others just feel like they do; while others are just plain unsettling. Why would it be "fantastic" if his head was "made of plastic"?

Eyes aren't a window to your soul, to Baz. They're a trapdoor. But he's got something, this guy. While most music wears out when you play it over and over trying to figure it out, this doesn't. Maybe this is because the music is so good. Maybe that's because Baz is just so strange. Either way, _You Are Here is definitely one of the most intriguing and frustrating CDs of 2008. Listening to it is a bit like being drunk during the day - unnerving, but exhilarating.

Baz Corden… must be his real name. Nobody would make something like that up and give it to himself! Then again, this is a guy who puts a smiley on the cover instead of his face, and impersonates Tintin on the inside.

What to read next: Kalahari

Gary Cherry 2009-02-25 11:20 PM
  • Rating:
Thanks for a great review,not just because I too love this album, but because you called it like it is. Music nights with a 'pretentious nerd' no just a young man who eats and sleeps his art,,thanks!

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