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Billy's Vision

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Album Review

Originally commissioned as musical accompaniment to an installation put together by Andrew Hunter for Saskatoon's Mendel Gallery, detailing the mysterious life of a drifter named Billy through both fact and fiction, the album, Billy's Vision, is understandably a bit of a departure from McEnroe's other work. Each of the 14 cuts here works on their own as an instrumental piece — separated from the visual component found in the installation — but they all come together nicely as an album. The booklet is also chock-full of material from the installation, including photography and anecdotes from "interviewees," if you want to read while listening to the "soundtrack" as a complement. Musically, it's more sedate than the albums that feature McEnroe's vocal work, too; instead, the jazzy backgrounds are fused to hip-hop beats, with haunting ambient effects and the occasional spoken fragment or vocal line thrown in. It works more often than not — the extended vocal snippets in the 12th track being the only thing that really seems out of place here — and if it wasn't already clear from his work on his other albums, Billy's Vision proves that the lyrically-skilled McEnroealso has a good musical feel even when the music is meant to stand on its own.

Billy's Vision, McEnroe
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