Ripped from music and sutured to the banal hooting of streets, deadening of flats and cold hum of offices, leaves you slightly overwhelmed when plugging back in. The music that we tend to gravitate towards on these pages acts like a wormhole to the strange lands these artists conjure. Kinda’ like Jarvis’s scented candle if it was made from the hallucinogenic larvae of our tired lizard king, dragging your soul across across dimensions in a wisp of smoke.
The opening few seconds of King Dude’s Born in Blood are silent. Which could well just be a quirk of track sequencing but does an efficient job of letting you hear the ‘silence’ of the room that truly opens the track. It’s a great trope of authenticity, that hiss, that room tone, but no less effective. It’s the light picking out dust and the smell of wood. Synaesthesia played out endlessly in a fraction of a second before Thomas Jefferson Cowgill’s guitar (closely followed by voice) slip bleakly into a view.
The body of the song itself takes the gothic route to 20JFG’s heart encompassing death, an ineffectual bible and the devil. It’s the little guitar line here and the slight, almost childish, uplift of a “born in blood” that makes King Dude’s dark-folk an effective world to visit. Though perhaps the tug’s a bit too strong after cold turkey.
The late Dani Baquet-Long’s solo project Chubby Wolf is beginning to settle within our collective conscious with a 7″ earlier in the year and now an album. Despite the sadness inherent in any such posthumous undertaking, there’s also a sense of gratitude that anything so beautiful could be created at all.
This particular wormhole takes us to the ethereal plane that exists between the walls of Malick’s 50s Texas. A suitably filmic piece of found-sound whimsy opens Sushi on a Hot Day (and gives it its name), giving off some Nicholas Ray awkwardly burgeoning female sexuality in post-war times…vibes. From here though Chubby Wolf quickly escape the hold of earthly delights into the transcendent synth drones that make up the bulk of the track. That otherworldliness though is grounded by a (very) faint, rattling percussion, possessed of just enough reverb to anchor it in a room while also managing to sound like ice-flows cracking underwater.
There’s something so stately and enormous about this sort of music: a beauty of the natural sciences. That’s perhaps why Sushi on a Hot Day became the track to post here, possessing, as it does, a playful sense of the tiny focus of people — and their talcum powder — that totally befits an album containing a track called Small Dick.
Sushi on a Hot Day is taken from Turkey Decoy, the first Chubby Wolf release on Digitalis. The record’s out now and you can pick it up from here (disclaimer: there are other online record stores).
If you’re about in East London this weekend the wonderful (but deceptively named) Nail the Cross IV is taking place in Dalston.