Human Conditions

Human Conditions

by Richard Ashcroft
     
 

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Since splitting the Verve a few years back, Richard Ashcroft has burrowed further and further into his own universe -- a space that's dappled with the muted tones of a perpetual sunset. Ashcroft has grown into quite the eloquent -- and elegant -- balladeer, a talent he demonstrates across the breadth of Human Conditions. The disc isSee more details below

Overview

Since splitting the Verve a few years back, Richard Ashcroft has burrowed further and further into his own universe -- a space that's dappled with the muted tones of a perpetual sunset. Ashcroft has grown into quite the eloquent -- and elegant -- balladeer, a talent he demonstrates across the breadth of Human Conditions. The disc is somewhat less swoony than his love-sodden solo debut, Alone with Everybody, but still imbued with introspective emotion, particularly on the soulful "Man on a Mission" and "Science of Silence." He frequently tries to tap into the primordial ooze that spawned the works of folks as spiritually kindred -- if stylistically removed -- as Nick Drake and Hank Williams Sr., and on the deeply furrowed "Buy It in Bottles," Ashcroft hits every nerve. On the rare occasions that he decides to pump up the volume, as on the raga-flavored "Bright Lights," the momentum is thrown off, but by the end of the disc-closing "Nature Is the Law," his course seems steadied, the path winding but ultimately terminating in a place of quiet beauty.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - MacKenzie Wilson
Richard Ashcroft is a deeply inquisitive man, probably too much for his own good. His regimen of frequently questioning God and overanalyzing the theories of love naturally work for him, so the design of Human Conditions isn't any different from what he's done before. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, either. Human Conditions is, in a literal sense, Ashcroft's sonic bible of beautifully crafted melodies and lyrical mysticism. The warm, honeyed tones of a hushing brass section and string arrangements set the mood on album-opener "Check the Meaning." A battle of search and fight is realized almost immediately. God is female and Ashcroft's lyrical character struggles with trust. Sweeping acoustic guitars drive the lilting paranoia of "Buy It in Bottles" and "God in the Numbers," but the bluesy feel of "Bright Lights" is much more gritty. Ashcroft might be a bit preoccupied with finding a good life, but who isn't? He's playful in presentation and actually pretty sweet when it comes to delivering a pop hook. "Nature Is the Law," which features harmonies from Beach Boy Brian Wilson, is a testament of that. Whereas Alone With Everybody was lush in emotion but musically over-produced, Human Conditions stays within the boundaries. It's a decent second album and longtime Verve enthusiasts should leave it at that.
Rolling Stone - Peter Relic
Ashcroft's mastery of balladry makes "Buy It in Bottles" his best since the Verve's "Lucky Man."
Spin Magazine
Stunning pop for pale after-party people. (8)
Entertainment Weekly - Jim Farber
You won't find a better example of British soul than "Check the Meaning." (A)

Product Details

Release Date:
12/17/2002
Label:
Emd Int'l
UPC:
0724381338322
catalogNumber:
813383
Rank:
169497

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Richard Ashcroft   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Wurlitzer
Brian Wilson   Conductor,Background Vocals
Matt Clifford   Wurlitzer
Chuck Leavell   Piano,Hammond Organ
London Community Gospel Choir   Choir, Chorus
London Session Orchestra   Strings
Peter Salisbury   Drums
Talvin Singh   Tabla,Madal,Drones,Duggi Tarang,Shruti Box
Gavyn Wright   Leader
Kate Radley   Keyboards
Jim Hunt   Flute,Saxophone
Craig Wagstaff   Percussion
Martyn Campbell   Bass
Wil Malone   Conductor

Technical Credits

Brian Wilson   Vocal Arrangements
Richard Ashcroft   Producer,Art Direction
Tony Cousins   Mastering
Steve Sidelnyk   Programming,drum programming
Talvin Singh   beats
Christopher Marc Potter   Producer
José Luis Cortés   Illustrations
Richard Robson   Programming
Wil Malone   Orchestral Arrangements

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