Some Place Simple

Studio Album by released in 2010

Some Place Simple review

Attention to Martina Topley Bird!

One of trip-hop pioneers Tricky would probably not be such a success if it were not for Martina Topley Bird. This girl with a soft velvet voice got acquainted with the artist herself, the two soon had a daughter who is already 15 now, but Martina’s debut solo album Quixotic was released only in 2003. The album produced by Tricky once again turned out to be a good start for the singer, and the sophomore effort The Blue God released two years ago left no doubt in Topley Bird’s talent. Nevertheless many critics thought then that producer Danger Mouse’s arrangements on quite a number of tracks sounded too obtrusive and distracted the attention from the vocalists. Therefore her new creation Some Place Simple is surely going to be better than both of its predecessors in this respect. The album is a collection of songs from both of Martina Topley Bird’s albums performed with the accompaniment of live instruments on which the singer herself and her percussionist Ninja are playing.

Soft and gentle music on Some Place Simple

Whichever song from the album Some Place Simple you play it is going to be soft, gentle, with minimalist instrumental background: an acoustic guitar and percussion as well as some exotic ‘toys’, for instance, marimba (an African variant of xylophone) and ukulele (Hawaiian four-stringed instrument). The record gives an idea of what Martina’s songs were like initially before the beats, samples and various effects were put on them. The album opens with the song Baby Blue, vulnerable, soft and very romantic love ballad. No less nice are Phoenix, Lying and Da Da Da. The track Poison is built on such a contagious ethnic beat that you will hardly make it stay seated at one place listening to it whereas the hit Sandpaper Kisses has resulted to be no less sensual and stylish than it was on the debut album. The singer’s vocal skills can be estimated on an almost a cappella number Ilyah, undoubtedly one of the most soulful moments on the record. The composition Valentine has also preserved its rippled flowing sounding, and the drums practically are the principal accompaniment to Martina’s energetic vocals on Too Tuff To Die. A very gentle and melodious song Kiss Kiss Kiss, lasting one minute sharp also makes one think of vulnerability and yet is filled with a romantic mood, and the album closer Harpsichord Kiss, a song with no words, performed on a children’s toy – harpsichord that the singer has borrowed from her daughter.

Marvelous simplicity, openness, vulnerability

The album Some Place Simple is 15 compositions, lasting a bit more than 36 minutes, and utterly unobtrusive, fresh, clean and light music. The story behind the album is as simple as it is itself. Damon Alborn has heard practically by occasion Martina playing and singing her songs, and him and some other friends expressed the idea that an entire record would be nice to make in such a key. He offered her his studio and his own label Honest Jons for the album’s release. Wonderfully, after being in trip-hop, after the release of her pop album, even not the most standard pop one, Martina Topley Bird releases her most ‘naked’ work, devoid of any production. It is exactly the one that pretends to be her best creation so far. The material pleases with marvelous simplicity, openness, vulnerability – Martina’s music has always been like that, actually, but it could not be heard under other layers. Today the singer travels around Europe and Asia as a guest vocalist with Massive Attack on its tour performing with the band on the concerts and plans to take part in a couple of new projects. Therefore the album Some Place Simple is a kind of a summarizing bridge across Martina Topley Bird’s past and future.