Robin Vining: The Nightcap Serenade

Back cover of The Nightcap Serenade

I caught the tail end of Colorstore’s set the other night, and it reminded me to go MySpace digging to see what’s up with some of the better local bands. Robin Vining is always a busy man, taking part in both Colorstore and Sweet Bleeders. Turns out, he recently tackled a solo project, too.

The Nightcap Serenade, so says Vining, was inspired in part by the RPM Challenge, which basically asks artists to record an album in 28 days. I’m guessing they end up with either a boatload of garbage or some fairly riveting, if not rushed, material.

It’s easy to say that Vining’s falls in the latter category – at least from the three songs he’s made available to download. For the most self-critical of musicians, the need to squash that instinct to pore over songs and edit and re-record and rinse and repeat must be brutal. “So now I’m striving for the more instant gratification of imposing a strict duration limitation and popping one out this month,” Vining wrote.

The title track is a mercurial instrumental that carries strains of Western strings, Italian-style atmosphere and a little electronic juice at the song’s takeoff. Then there’s Stupid Face, a forlorn and soulful plea that probably would sound better on a ’50s jukebox than 21st century MySpace.

At his RPM page, Vining says “steps were taken to prevent ‘cleaning up’ or ‘overworking’ tracks and performances (which is, to say that it just wasn’t done). Even though everything was tracked individually, I wanted most of this to sound like a live performance of a somewhat ragged band.” To that end, he probably accomplished his feat, and it also proves what sort of spontaneous elegance one can create under deadline.

  • Robin Vining | The Nightcap Serenade
  • Robin Vining | Stupid Face
  • Robin Vining | Caution Horse

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