Everett True reckons that Artists Should Stick To Art instead of making mixtapes of obvious dad rock. If mixtapes made by artists are so disappointing in real life, I think we should invent some fantasy selections.
I’d better be careful. This isn’t the first time I’ve said “I’m not normally a fan of this lot, but …”, and if I say it too often, I’ll find myself normally a fan of this lot. Point is, the first time I was advised to look into Elysian Fields, I was a little underwhelmed, but on one or two occasions since I’ve been quietly impressed – plus I unreservedly love their La Mar Enfortuna project. So it was that I half-heartedly clicked on a link to the new single, expecting it to be pretty average, and thought … you know? This is really pretty good.
So my copy of La Mar Enfortuna’s Conviviencia finally turned up. It’s part of the bundle of CDs I bought with my Christmas money from my sister-in-law, and had been caught up in the backlog of snow-delayed packages.
It’s hard to equate “snow” with this music – you can feel the blazing heat of some exotic place just from listening to it. I went into a little more detail here, but it’s basically a fusion of Sephardic traditional folk and experimental rock – dissonant chimes, freeform sax and droning distorted guitars counterpoint the sweetness of the melody and Jennifer Charles’ sulky, silky vocals. This particular song is an immediate favourite, since it radically changes styles part-way through the song without losing its focus. It’s really best if you just hear it for yourself.
I just followed a link to the Tzadik website – John Zorn’s avant garde/experimental music label – and they’ve helpfully added a page called Artist for Artist, where people associated with the label recommend certain works on the site to help us navigate through the impenetrable swamp of the deeply weird.
Sadly, the site doesn’t seem to have any MP3 stream clips so you can’t preview the albums, but I found most of the acts easily enough on YouTube, even if they didn’t have a wide selection of songs. It was worth the effort, since I like to take little detours from time to time just to check out acts that would otherwise pass me by.