Creative Nation Music 2014
Voice and strings experimentalists connive for some lowlife hijinks.
Italian multi-voiced force Savoldelli is no stranger to work with guitarists – his debut, "Insanology", featured Marc Ribot, and "Protoplasmic" was a full-blown collaboration with Elliott Sharp – but this communion with fellow mind-warper, American Fewell, might have the weirdest allure about it. And it’s not the material choice that unhinges it all; it’s the delivery which finds the partners in crime deliberately veering from the obvious even when it comes to covers, let alone their own creations.
How often do you hear Sun Ra’s poetry pinned as a spoken-word to a clarinet-enhanced nocturnal backdrop shot through with avant-garde electronics? That’s as organic as it gets in “Silence Is Music” before the sparse flow of “Circle Round” get sprinkled with many singing splinters and the operetta classic “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise” is drowned in a roar that’s more Weimar than New Orleans. The title track is pure kitchen-sink, though, complete with a hungry cat’s meow and a cuckoo tweet passed on to the guitar, and there’s threat spread all over the place. Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” has never sounded so eerie – vocals strangled, strum strained – and the duo’s rendition of “My One And Only Love” is far removed from Sinatra’s in terms of skewed romanticism.
Think of The Ripper rather than Lothario here, so while “No Evil In Prison” is the barked blues one could hardly expect from Boris, his scat notwithstanding, it logs an evil logic into the context. Still, “You Don’t Know What Love Is” sees Fewell and Savoldelli emote in plain sight – and it suits them well. Experimental urge aside, this might be the way to go if the pair are to conspire again.