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Doug Hoekstra | The Past Is Never Past (Inbetweens)
Essentially a compilation of outtakes and compilation appearances, these 13 tracks offer an alternate route through Hoekstra's recent past. Not as focused as the album for which many were recorded ('Around The Margins'), this is a more eclectic selection of songs that sees Hoekstra working within different styles, experimenting with loops (highlights 500 Miles Away and CwaS' compilation cut If The World Was Blind) and traditional styles old and new (the smooth radio-friendly Break My Fall and the less successful interpretation of Brecht and Weill's Ballad of the Soldier's Wife where his trade-mark semi-spoken delivery struggles to keep pace and mood with the authentic backdrop). Where 'The Past Is Never Past' is most successful is on the narrative sprawl of the title track and Oh, Zamira, or the more experimental arrangements of Drops Fell From My Fingertips and Where I Worked, where the musical accompaniment accentuates Hoekstra's idiosyncratic stylings. The closing collage/spoken word Rear-View Mirror Effect sounds like an outtake from 'Stay Awake' that twisted reinterpretation of Disney classics that A&M put out way back when, and it's amid such blurring of boundaries that mavericks like Doug Hoekstra find their place.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002

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