Quiet Rebellion is the brainchild, and dramatic musical project of Award winning songwriter Shaun T Hunter who is based in The Ridings, Yorkshire.
Turning his back upon a potentially lucrative production deal in the late 90s Shaun chose to break free from the larger corporate record industry, seeking to plough his own musical furrow, and forge his own path, resulting in releasing a series of highly acclaimed and unique albums.
Now on his latest album ‘Still Talking Scribble’ he has taken things further. Not only has he recorded and produced the album himself in a variety of unusual locations (from a reputedly haunted Industrial Mill...which served to be the setting for a spontaneous reinterpretation of the Springsteen standard 'Dancing In The Dark' which makes it on to the album as a bonus track to rooms with a view), but he is also the sole player of all instruments on the record - this was not due to any control ethic but by only using what he had at his disposal. It was out of necessity as a result of losing 'band members' who had been part of the house concert based release 'Thinnest Hopes Magnified ' from Autumn 2009...this new vigour and vision of creating textures and rhythms solely consisting of just him and a loop pedal would become the foundation that ' Still Talking Scribble ' would be based upon. By creating every single CD cover individually, passing the sleeve design, a commissioned piece of art by local artist Damian Clark through colour filters to create a unique work of art.
Shaun describes the whole process as ‘Ethereal D.I.Y’ a description he stumbled upon rather than consciously made taking 2 very different genres, creating musically a ‘dreamesque spectral song collection’ while at the same time single-handidly creating rhythms and textures to all aspects of his live work and this album creation.
Musically in ‘Still Talking Scribble’ Shaun has released another startlingly honest work, as it takes us on a journey from the darkest corners of the mind, to the deepest recesses of the soul.
The follow up album to 2009s ‘Thinnest Hopes Magnified’ Shaun’s outward journey continued across the length, and breadth of the U.K, stopping off for House concerts, and on location recordings. However, it’s the journey within that has really taken new roads and routes as he lyrically delves deeper, looks inward, asks searching questions, confronts his inner demons, and yet ultimately errs on, and concludes on the positive side of life.
While opting for a sparse sound, and production the old adage that less can mean so much more seems so appropriate when you listen to this album. The simple, yet beautiful instrumentation of subtle guitars, strings plucked, and picked for harmony, body gently beaten for percussion, enhanced by loop pedals, layered textures and keyboards form the basis of this opus.
Over the top of this Hunter’s unique, rich, sonorous voice, redolent at times of a young Peter Gabriel, or at times re-imagining the vocal gymnastics of Tim Buckley but ultimately with his own tone, and timbre, and emotive, and spiritual lyrics take us on a rewarding sojourn through an often unquiet mind.
Having suffered tragedies as a child (his father died when he was very young), this would prove to serve as a creative apprenticeship. Shaun commuted between his grandparents home in England, to his mothers house in Scotland. Equally, he became aware at an early age of his mixed heritage with Portuguese, French, Burmese, and Dutch roots in the family tree....maybe because of this, his many different styles and influences make his particular brand of music almost impossible to categorise, much like the artist himself his music also embodies a strong nomadic tendency and neither have a strict genre or home. Ultimately, as a result of this aspects of his songs are lyrically cathartic, and searching, yet ultimately they provide many positive answers.
On the urgent, mesmerising, almost menacingly percussive ‘From Cathedral Cities To Dark Northern Towns’ the ‘turbulent angst ridden child’ discovers not only that ‘a life worth living is tested’, but also that ‘a life worth living is found’. Seek and ye shall find it seems.
Strike that match, light that candle, sit back and take it all in.
On ‘Beneath the wings of a Dragon’ Hunter faces up to the fact that ‘avoidance is a futile exercise’ and stands up to his dragons and demons, cutting them down to size, while we are reminded that ‘life is a people altering substance’ on ‘Completely by accident, not by design’, but that it is up to us what we choose to make of it.
Were he not one of the great contemporary lyricists he would no doubt be hailed as one of the great modern poets or thinkers of our time.
Through Operatic scales, to eerie choral voices, hypnotic rhythm’s, to confessional and emotive lyrics, and haunting melodies we ultimately come to the conclusion that Shaun is a man not content to sit still as he travels musically, physically, and mentally ultimately avoiding destination drudgery.
This is an album cram packed full of profundity, pathos, and most importantly melody, and in ‘Still Talking Scribble’ he has created a masterpiece that stands alone, defies pigeonholing, and deserves to launch Shaun into the realm of one of the greatest songwriters of our time.
The first great album of 2011.