Swirls push pitch to its edge. They fill the space, adding colorful twists to the canvas as dense details fill in behind. Then they are washed away. The layers are repeated and added to, then a guttural breath. “Beautiful Rain” by Jude Woodhead creates a fully formed post-impressionistic world where shapes that are at times perceivable continue to evolve and blend into one another.
Born from a focus that blends the ambient now with world music, “Beautiful Rain” comes from everywhere but manages to occupy a singular space. The London-born artist picked up a trumpet at the age of seven, and it’s that brass background that pushes itself forward through the opening moments. Notes teeter at the edge of cacophony but end in euphoria. This is limit pushing stuff, and is rewarding because of it.
It’s not surprising to find Paul Simon listened as one of Woodhead’s major influences. His father’s collection of Congolese and South African records have clearly transfused themselves into his taste and from the first guttural vocal noises that move into choir chanting paints the picture of African plains at the beginning of the rainy season.
Woodhead blends his dense cities with large open plains. He sees the similarities of their continuous breath. He is not ignorant to, nor does he ignore their differences either. Throughout “Beautiful Rain”, each part of his understanding is allowed to take the forefront at different stages, before blending back within its core.
This isn’t naive stuff, and he isn’t trying to appropriate anything. There is no message of we’re all the same. Rather, “Beautiful Rain” highlights both the similarities and the differences creating an arrangement that celebrates beauty by showcasing varied scenes where limits reach their apex.
“Beautiful Rain” is Jude Woodhead’s debut single, and it is more than just a signal of intent. This is an artist was a vast breadth of knowledge that he is able to translate seamlessly into sound.
The song comes with an equally stunning collage style video that he made himself. To create the visuals he went through a large number of photos he took over summers and arranged them in stop motion. He says it’s “about memory, particularly the way that we remember things as snapshots or scenes. Hopefully this sense of young summer nostalgia for the time when I made the song comes across in the video.”
“Beautiful Rain” sees Woodhead bringing together memories that span his entire life and quite possibly reach around the globe. The beauty here is in the exploration and the joy gained from those moments.
HURRY – LISTEN – JUDE WOODHEAD
PHOTOGRAPH BY TRAVIS BARTON