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Nick Harper - Harperspace

NICK HARPER - LOVE IS MUSIC DVD:

Love is Music

Nick Harper - Love is Music DVD
Released: 2007 (Sangraal Records)

DVD CHAPTER LISTING

  1. foreplay
  2. RADIO SILENCE
  3. tour bus accident
  4. AEROPLANE
  5. he's not right, is he?
  6. THE MAGNIFICENT G7
  7. up the garden path
  8. SHE RULES MY WORLD
  9. glittering eye
  10. THE KILTY STONE
  11. is he making it up as he goes?
  12. THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD
  13. the wilderness years
  14. KARMAGEDDON
  15. it's really got ya
  16. JANET AND JOHN
  17. my escape
  18. MY LITTLE MASTERPIECE
  19. let me see your fingers
  20. BY MY ROCKET COMES FIRE
  21. what type of music is that then?
  22. BLOOM
  23. the tension builds
  24. KNUCKLEDRAGGERS
  25. well, are the rumours true?
  26. IMAGINARY FRIEND



SLEEVE NOTES

I'd like to thank all the players for letting slip some myth-building asides amongst the abuse;  Tank and Paul for keeping me insane enough to go on stage.. and the strange and wonderful people who pay good money to witness it;  and not least Mike who has worked miracles in making one thing my children wouldn't pawn..well not immediately. 

I am, currently, Nick Harper


REVIEWS

musicOMH.com April 2007

One of the most influential factors on Nick Harper's career is made clear merely seconds into his first DVD. He says in an interview: "One thing I learnt from my dad is that to have a record label is not necessarily a good thing."  He is referring to he and his father Roy's refusal to play the soul destroying business game of the music industry, and thus he has never, and will never, sign to a 'major' label nor play anything approaching stadiums or arenas ? for all that his talent warrants it.  This career strategy is reflected by the fact this DVD did not come through the post, but was witnessed by me and others at a screening in a theatre in Soho. Musician and fellow Harper cheerleader Mike Last, who lovingly put together this rockumentary, said to me in the toilets before the screening: "Smaller artists like Nick need the support networks provided like you and me to survive, so thanks for coming." Cue a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.  Love is Music contains full performances of about 12 songs that cross 20 years of Harper's career. Last captures the intensity that Harper's manic performances bring to every small, sweaty venue, as well as footage of his performance at Bedford's Rhythm Festival, a setting he is less suited to but on this occasion a flawless performance of his song Bloom renders that null and void.  The music is mostly excellent, save perhaps a slightly disjointed rendition of his finest song, She Rules My World, recorded on a bench in Harper's backyard. Happily, Last captures nigh on perfect performances of Karmageddon, Janet and John and The Kilty Stone.  As well as interviews with the man himself, and indeed fly-on-the-wall footage of him at his Wiltshire home, there is comment from several fans, friends and experts. Among the most well known are DJ Mike Read, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze and Mark Chadwick of The Levellers, who offers the most apt description of Harper's live show: "When you see Nick Harper play, you get just one emotion, not a series of songs."  Last's editing is imaginative and simple at the same time, with split screen frequently utilised, as is as a camera at the top of Nick's guitar neck, capturing the secrets of his dazzling fretboard skill.  One minor gripe might have been that the documentary does not delve into Harper's soul depths to glean how his funny, tragic and smart songs come about, nor does it particularly address his left-leaning politics. But by the end, both of these are touched on, though not without playing up the man's larrikin spirit, which is prominent upon meeting him. At the end of the screening the man himself bursts in, beaming, and says "Ok lets all go down the fucking pub."  Besides, all one needs to know about Nick Harper's soul and politics is contained in each delectable note he plays, notes that Last has nailed in almost every shot. For those who haven't seen him live, he tours extensively in May and June, in preparation for which you could do a lot worse than this quite outstanding insight into the life and music of one of Britain's most honest, earnest and gifted musicians. 

BARNABY SMITH

 

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Maverick Magazine

Nick Harper - Love Is Music
Sangraal Music


If performance artist hadn't become such a pejorative term, it would fit Nick Harper perfectly. Musician is too stifling and definite a label and if you think that's a contradiction then wait until you've watched and listened to Harper's DVD because it's full of them.

If anything Nick Harper is the closest thing we've got to Lewis Carroll. His songs are the musical equivalent of Carroll's Looking Glass, peer through and you find a fantastical, magical world. Not always sugar sweet but forever different.

If anything, the thought of Lewis Carroll will help guide you through Love Is Music because to fully comprehend what's going on you'd have to the man himself. And there's strong evidence to suggest that even he wouldn't be the most reliable of witnesses.

What he most definitely does on Love Is Music is spin gold, My Little Masterpiece shows Harper to be a writer and performer of spellbinding talent while Karmogeddon and The Story Of Janet and John deserve their place in the pantheon of whimsical, eccentric English literature, performing them Harper transforms into an uncontrollable force of nature. Whether song drives artist or vice versa is unknown.

One thing that does become clear on Love Is Music is that Nick Harper may know where a song starts, he may even know where it will end but getting from one to the other is a voyage of discovery, for everyone.
Love Is Music doesn't set out to resolve the enigma of Nick Harper and he makes no real attempt to explain himself. In fact, as with all true originals it's neither possible nor desirable to analyse too deeply.

To its credit the DVD isn't just a cut and paste job of performances and interviews. There are some wonderfully intimate autobiographical pieces and contributions from dad Roy, Glenn Tillbrook and Mike Read. However, even these august figures can't quite escape the aura that surrounds Nick.

Throughout the performances Harper pays scant attention to the ebb and flow of stagecraft; ideas, opinions, stories and emotions tumble out helter skelter. There's just too much to cram in and you suspect that Nick Harper has too much pent up energy to linger for too long on any one thing.

To describe Nick Harper as an elusive, mercurial footballer is a bit like saying Georgie Best knew the business end of a ball. It's not that he breaks through the boundaries that limit lesser talents, he just never knew where they were in the first place. You may not be able to categorize him but you can't ignore him.

MICHAEL MEE

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Rock N Reel Magazine

Nick Harper - Love Is Music
Sangraal Music


There's a point in this absorbing rockumentary by filmmaker Mike Last when one of the talking heads announces, "He's a brilliant guitarist, brilliant singer and a brilliant songwriter". Nick Harper is all of these and more - crazy, cerebral, singular, perceptive and compassionate. Add to that genius and it wouldn't appear in the least hyperbolic.

If you're not familiar with his music then you should be. The likes of 'Radio Silence', 'Aeroplane', 'The Kilty Stone', 'Janet and John' and 'My Little Masterpiece' deserve a bigger audience. He has an astonishing voice that roams across the register and a dexterity on the guitar that compels you to watch, spellbound and cross-eyed. As if that's not enough, he can change a string mid-song without missing a beat. Bastard!

Mark Chadwick of the Levellers, Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, poet Steve Smith and even DJ Mike Read line up to pay tribute between the tracks. The bonus footage includes a lovely bit of banter between Harper and his dad, 60s folk revivalist Roy Harper, "Why do I always call you Roy?" asks the son. "Because we're brothers, man!" Peerless.

DAVID BURKE

 

Nick Harper - Harperspace