Album Review: Duotone – A Life Reappearing

Duotone is the alias of multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Barney Morse-Brown, an immeasurably talented and inspiring individual with a wealth of experience at his fingertips. Having taken up the cello as a child, Morse-Brown’s life seemed to instantly become a whirlwind of sound and has carried his sounds across the world. His latest album A Life Reappearing is an enigmatic masterpiece that compiles a wealth of attributes from an impressive collection of genres.

A Life Reappearing opens with a lulling and yet somewhat sombre and small orchestral score that it takes a moment to remember that this is the work of just one man. As this realisation gradually creeps up on you his music becomes more awe-inspiring with every growing note. His rich orchestral scores call out to the grandiose performances the likes of which can be heard from Sigur Ros – however his collaborative affairs are drastically limited, only sharing his songs with the select few. As the first song dies down Morse-Brown opens himself up to fully display the extent of his masterful artistry. Gentle guitar melodies drift through his work while the deep and timely rumblings of the cello echo in the background. What is especially invigorating within his work is his fearless and contemporary experimentation’s. Morse-Brown carefully tapers his work with electronic loops and electronica at times, allowing it to take on a completely new form of its own. It’s not quite orchestral, not quite folk, it’s not quite anything anymore – it is simply Duotone.

As A Life Reappears progresses, the actions of Morse-Brown only serve to become more astounding and fascinating. His multitude of talents seems to know no limit as he applies his trade to the piano, the violin and everything in-between. Atop of all of this however is the stunning and emotive tenderness of his own voice. Like a softer Borko, his worlds flow out into this world in a wash of passion and tenderness that makes each and every song as evocative as your first heartbreak. With such a mesmerising swirl of emotions conveyed within his songs it’s easy to understand why Duotone has been hailed as some of ‘the most amazing music you’ll witness’.

Duotone is one of the most inspired and versatile acts on the music scene today. His endless yet seemingly effortless talents have allowed him to transcend the shackled boundaries of definable genres and flood his work with influences of his own making. Rich, enigmatic and stunningly composed, A Life Reappearing is one of the most delicate and simultaneously powerful albums of the year.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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