Quite outside of my usual listening habits I came to this via Dissensus quite some time ago and it still remains on rotation.
Has super wide dynamics varying loud and quite though mostly quite pensive and intimate. I can’t make out the lyrics most of the time out without reading them on the notes, but I think the voice is more part of the instrumentation as a whole which is how I approach listening to this.
there's nothing original commissioned on this album just a great velvet voice interpretting old folk standards set to some modern instrumentation. but that's precisely what makes it so great. emerging engagements with western instrumentation mixed with a more metropolitan soul sensibility.
like jungle and dub reggae in that regard. everything is technically a version of a version of a version...
"There is no 'first time' but only 'again' of certain popular tracks being played over and over on the Sound-system. Such tracks represent a peculiar nexus: not just a tryst between 'first persons' of the DJ and producer (an assemblage of expression), but a well-protected 'eternal return' whereby those participating in a living culture produce a context through which they can realise the surplus value of their living labour (an assemblage of reception). The labour of the past is therefore not squandered and wasted (the 'murder of the dead' of capitalist production), but re-activated on to spar with the living labour of the present. Marx understood this cultural revolutionary effect when in a letter to Ruge he wrote: "Mankind will not begin any new work, but will consciously bring about the completion of its old work". Originality, then, as the marker of bourgeois cultural legitimation in the West becomes more than a misnomer and operates as an oppressive cultural-structuration that seeks to deter a wider-scale production of culture..."
Take a couple of classically trained avant-gardists fresh from jamming with Stokhausen. Add a young guitarist and the world's greatest metronomic drummer. Let them try and achieve escape velocity as a reaction to the evils of the recent past. Communism, Anarchism, Nihilism.
This is not their first album, but their finest I think though there's a lot of competition. I think they really began to reach where they were destined to go here and they knew it, after taking an excursions through film, surf and general weridness. Contains proto-rap beats, demented Japanese freakout vocals from Damo, and a Crowley-inspired side long jam. Sprawls over four sides as a proper freak out album should.
Imagine a grown Aphex twin having the nightmare acid trip of his life and asking his mum to come and comfort him, that's how unparalleled this is in electronic music. always mutating, always intense and with clinically frightening intellect to boot. hard to better this.
The music is brilliant and it has this patchwork mythology of medieval royalty mixed with seraphic and astral imagery over cosmopolitan erotics. Fashion kings, planet queens, electric warriors, cosmic dancers. An operatic world full of figures of essence suspended in fates of grandiose tragedy.
jazz was once the music of pimps and drug dealers and strip clubs. its artists suffered brutality at the hands of the police and fatal killings at the hands of one another. this album returns jazz to that place.
but while doing so it also offers hope. the last true hoorah of the soul tradition. glimpses from the mountain top. the aspiration to one day overcome.