Paul Simpson - The Dream Diaries [Astral Girl, 2005]


Arch fabulist and liverpudlian Renaissance man about town, Paul Simpson has been the architect of an increasingly idiosyncratic body of work over the last couple of decades.

In the early 1980's he was the keyboard player of The Teardrop Explodes, before going on to form and take lead vocal duties in The Wild Swans, whose debut single "The Revolutionary Spirit" is still regarded by many as one of the greatest singles of all time. Missing out on greater commercial acclaim due to a healthy mistrust of the record industry, they quickly split leaving a legacy of pure sound dust behind them.

Simpson then went on to record under the name of Care, along with Ian Broudie, before re-launching The Wild Swans mark two and once more rapidly disappearing, this time for the duration.

Silence.

Then a beautiful instrumental track was to be picked up on the sonic radar, the track was called “Neptune Variations”, the band were Skyray, this piano lead elektronica/exotica track was to be Simpson’s new project. 

"The Dream Diaries" is the first in a possible series of spoken word narratives, which are in turn, episodic, fragmentary and frighteningly hallucinogenic.

These hypnotic bedtime lullabies are collated and curated from Simpson’s very own dream diaries. The diaries themselves are pitched perfectly between Burroughs- like cut up’s and Ginsberg’s epic poem "Howl". They start with the barely audible sound of snoring, as eyes flicker behind heavy eyelids; alpha waves begin to stutter out across a computer screen.

Xylophone and Harp whisper seductively in the ears of the listener, as gentle keyboard patterns begin to emerge, and the sound sculpture begins to spread like a Rorschach blot of ink across a CAT scan.

These hallucinatory tales of ejaculating lions, deadly Ziclone B and harmony being restored to an unstable universe, see our protagonist attempting to make sense of his own unique form of dream logic.

He finds himself in ever more surreal situations as these fantastical tales are projected across the cinema of a sleeping mind.

These include scenes of "stars being born, collapsing and dying", the purchasing of a nineteen pound pair of jeans covered in menstrual blood, taking psychic cocaine with occult magicians dressed in sharkskin suits, and eventually being seduced by a beautiful girl wearing kitten heels and a pussycat mask.

Meanwhile blips, bleeps and drones emerge from the narrative like intermittent transmissions from a ghost radio, spooky, poetic and mercurial.

This man then is Paul Simpson, twenty first century psychonaut and dream architect.

"My god, trapped alone in my brain for ten long years!"

Is there room for one more Paul?

Keith Haworth

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Paul Simpson - The Dream Diaries