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Billie Bottle & the Multiple - The Other Place

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Don't Lose The Bottle
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Written
April 24, 2021
Review
This is indeed an unbelievably eccentric and whacky album, the storylines of which are delivered amongst a series of sometimes purposeful but always very amusing and seemingly rhetorical commentaries that point towards people and issues that would probably only be of interest to those rooted in British society. Particularly so as the storyline is set in a week in 2015 leading up to a UK general election. Entitled “The Other Place,” it tells the true story of two musicians wending their way up from Devon (Billie Bottle & Martine as seen on BBC’s The Voice) as they make their way slowly to Westminster. On high streets, market squares and seafront promenades, they perform the same song, forty-nine times over, and at each stop they start conversations with whoever they meet, asking them "Who’s Got the Power?".
The cornerstone of the album though is a bountiful helping of seriously good avant-garde jazz-tinged music mixed together with a whimsical assortment of imaginative fun studded vocal delivery. In fact, the entire affair is packed with multitudes of different time signatures, rhythmic modulations melodic phrasing, wit and good humour. It is, without doubt, an eccentric and humorous musical world that band leader ‘Billie Bottle’ has created together with special long-term associate violinist ‘Martine Waltier’.
It is indeed a strange and humorous world that pianist/multi-instrumentalist ‘Billie Bottle’ has conjured up with violinist Martine Waltier. The vocal duties are mostly led by Billie with a huge contribution from Martine as the programme progresses and the two engage in some charming and quite uplifting jazz kissed harmonies. The singing itself though is delivered more so in a style that suggests musical theatre with the tunes being presented as dialogue but done so with many styles and panache and definitely with tongue in cheek.
In support of the entire adventure, you will find Billy’s own occasional group ‘The Multiple’ who further drench the atmosphere of the album with many musical flavourings and dashing’s of free form jazzy soundscapes
The entire affair though is quite lengthy at 76.3 minutes and such a full rendition of such avant-garde material would be best suited to a specially organised concert recital. This is opposed to casually sitting down and listening to the entire affair and somehow, in the bargain, failing to fully appreciate the composers’ full intent. It is an album though which, I’m sure, would always remain within arm’s length on the CD rack in order to be played quite often when the mood takes and even over time, especially in the UK, achieving classic album status.

ADDITIONAL INFO Billy Bottle is a pianist and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a member of jazz luminary Mike Westbrook’s Big Band. Billy’s own occasional group The Multiple is led by the accomplished vocals of Martine Waltier and the rest of the band exude the easy confidence that comes naturally to the experienced players that they are. Unrecorded Beam is produced by Lee Fletcher, to whom I give my thanks for sending me this message in a bottle in the first place. Lee plays a much bigger role than that of mere producer, making his characteristic contributions with his electronic box of virtual instruments, as you can see in the credits below.
Billie Bottle: Voice, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion
Martine Waltier: Voice, Violin, Guitar, Percussion
Roz Harding: Alto sax, Recorder, Percussion
Vivien Goodwin-Darke:Voice, Flute, Recorder, Percussion
Lee Fletcher: Bass, Synths, Keys, Soundscapes, Voice, Guitar, Percussion, Production


Billie Bottle: Voice, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar, Percussion
Martine Waltier: Voice, Violin, Guitar, Percussion
Roz Harding: Alto sax, Recorder, Percussion
Vivien Goodwin-Darke:Voice, Flute, Recorder, Percussion
Lee Fletcher: Bass, Synths, Keys, Soundscapes, Voice, Guitar, Percussion, Production

Conceived, written and arranged by Billie Bottle (with contributions from The Multiple).


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