Until the eleventh hour (early November to be precise), my 2015 album of the year was a straight shoot out between two gals.
Kaki King’s ‘The Neck is a Bridge to the Body’ caught my attention, immediately upon release, back in March.
and then immediately after that (and seldom off my CD player since) was Ela Orleans’ Upper Hell. That haunting melodic collaboration with Howie B, by way of Dante’s inferno.
Should you ever get a chance to catch Ela live, do so without a second’s hesitation.
She’s absolutely mesmerising!
But then, while I debated which one was better than the other, out of the blue, as the year wore on, appeared Evil Genius‘ Bitter Human – a collection of instrumentals by the Los Angeles trio that features Wormhole wizard Max Kutner (Grandmother of Invention stunt guitarist, Magic Band guitarist-stage left ). Stefan Kac on Tuba and Mike Lockwood on drums
I often buy albums purely on the strength of unusual instrumentation or juxtaposition thereof (e.g. Brass Monkey) and so this item was a shoo in for me . I can’t really recall playing an album quite so often, one time after another, since Ali Farka Toure’s The River.
Overall there’s a flavour of Henry Threadgill running through and over the whole thing but that’s no bad thing, no bad thing at all. Over the weeks, I realise I’ve been editing wee imaginary films to go along with this wonderful music.
Want to see them?
Blind Elephant’s Green Felt Jungle Dance – It’s a Czech cartoon that was made during the early days of the Cold War but was never seen until the early nineties. A small frog, which we’ve seen earlier, fishing with his two froglets, is now being chased by a sinister fox made from used pipe cleaners.
Juke’s Prompt – James Corden has ordered a pizza delivery and rushes around as he readies his squalid suburban apartment for its arrival. His fiance meanwhile dumps him by text and the arriving pizza, in a metaphor for the state of his romance, is violently binned.
Another Ale for the Gesture Urn – The working week of a village pharmacist is studied and condensed into six and a half minutes of sonic bliss (Documentary)
Secondary Air While staking out a bordello and enjoying the skills of its masseuse, a heavily moustachioed Tom Cruise is slipped a hallucinogenic suppository. As he trips out, in an out of focus over-saturated slo-mo tumble, and slowly realises he’s missed the villain escaping with the loot, the house band is playing this tune.
For No Particular Reason – Stop -motion close up of a Danish Pastry speedily deteriorating into the blue mould of decay.
(Share in a) Regional Meat Vision – Jim Rockford is in the shower. Some malcontent calls him and leaves this tune on his ansafone!
Ice People – A potters wheel turns, showing an embryonic vase slowly being corrupted by pieces of sheep offal that are thrown lightly into the clay.
Vamp for Lenny Kekua – William Burroughs cut up letters repeatedly spell out ‘Hoax’ in a variety of languages.
Manuever – Dr Morbius explains The Krell, and their history, to some angry pensioners.
Evil Genius, Bitter Human – An alcoholic Jack Lemmon has entered a sandcastle building contest. Building more and yet more elaborate castles we share his frustration as he repeatedly knocks them over to build afresh. Somewhat cleverly, the viewers never see a completed castle.
A taste of those I’ve been discussing……..