Something that is becoming increasingly rare in today’s music industry is the Short Album. With CD capacity expanding and digital space almost limitless, artists seem hellbent on filling as much room as possible with their thoughts and ideas whether or not all of those ideas were especially good ones. It’s as if a fear has gripped recording types the world over, inducing a panic that if they increased the quantity then nobody would notice the quality if the latter was cause for concern.
There’s nothing wrong with a proper Long Player – there are some great and classic sprawlers out there, both past and present, as well as some briefer works that could have been better for having a bit more going on. But back in the days when an album’s worth was judged on something to do with maximising the sound potential of the grooves on a 12″ record, and more importantly if it could fit on one side of a C90 cassette (a philosophy somewhat at odds with the “Home taping is killing music” ethos of the time, but hey – you couldn’t take a record player to the park), the emphasis was on a maximum 45 minutes’ worth of brilliance, with any extra stuff squirrelled away for future single-based usage.
Due to the somewhat silly rules applied by whoever it is that presides over eligibility for UK record sales charts, the shortest official Long Playing album I own is Nuclear Assault’s Good Times Bad Times – which is five tracks and seven minutes, 27 seconds long. Which, if nothing else, is handy for timing boiling rice.
Less silly examples of more “proper” short albums that are so perfect in length are Slayer’s Reign in Blood (which in fairness was probably an hour-long epic when they started, before they decided to see just how fast they could do it), Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, The Lemonheads’ It’s a Shame About Ray and Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence – all of which clock in at under half an hour. Any longer would just be over-egging the pudding. And this new one from Kentucky’s Daniel Martin Moore, from an idea plucked from the ether when sat at an old piano, fits the bill of being more than good enough to know exactly how to pitch a record that is exactly as long as it should be. Which is a lot more than can be said for me when it comes to hammering out overlong preambles such as this.