“This isn’t a revival, this is it.”
Read the full review at wonderful music blog One A Day.
It’s often only when somebody goes away that you truly appreciate how much you miss them. The artist formerly known as Raymond Wassef and his various permutations of a trio have been part of the Seidler family fabric for as long as I’ve been writing about music, and we’ve been truly blessed that over the years we’ve bridged the divide between performer and fans and become friends with the man. If you haven’t been with us for long, you may not know that adding another feather to his bow, Ray has actually written us some great pieces on The Isley Brothers and Curtis Mayfield in the past year. Ray returned to Australia this week after a protracted absence – about a year in fact – after he traded in our sunny shores for the cultural hotspot that is Berlin. Not that he’s been sitting on his hind quarters or anything; the one thing you can rely on with the multi-disciplinary creative is that he’s on the web almost as much as we are. Even though he wasn’t physically here, by keeping close tabs on his page, we were able to track Ray’s movements as he launched the next stage of his career, the Sketches project.
An ambitious project which seeks to bring together different strains of art under one roof, Sketches saw Ray Mann utilizing the power of the Internet in shrinking distance to invite his audiences to submit ideas for new songs and videos. Each month he tracked an idea from zero to hero, bringing in suggestions from Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere, culminating in a Vimeo clip which showed off his skills with a pen and paper as well as a guitar and mic. As similarly insane people who have committed to a project that ends us eating us alive at least once a week (see: the name of this website and it’s lifespan to date) we have to give props to people who embark on something ambitious and potentially socially damaging just to prove to themselves they can. Anyway, we saw Ray perform some of the new material the other night, and it’s as good as the old stuff that we know and love. But, you know, with extra fresh visuals.
I will personally recommend the Ray Man Three’s music to anybody who will listen to me for as long as I live because I don’t believe that you have to make unwieldy amounts of noise or live on the cutting edge of yesteryear to be entertaining. Every person Ray gets into his band is a phenomenal musician in their own right and hearing them play together is by far one of the ommost rewarding and enriching experiences, because it’s really nice to listen to. especially after seeing so many average bands in the last month, to be around one who not only have the skills but visibly enjoy themselves while they’re at it should not be underestimated. ‘Showya’, the first single from this first suite of what I imagine will be four records is just that; a gorgeous little piece of pop that lends it’s ear to Al Green and Jamie Liddell in equal amounts, both of whom I believe Ray has toured with. It’s that point where you get caught slow-dancing with someone you only just met, as you mutually agree that the honey-soaked vocals and sensuous chords coming out of that gorgeous vintage guitar are of your taste. This isn’t a revival, this it it. It’s not rocket science, but it’s sure great for that rocket in your pocket. Come back soon, Mann.
. . .