Don't Bring Me Down, Bruce

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I’ve never been one of those armchair sound-travelers myself. Say the words “world music” and it immediately conjures up a specific, neutron-bomb-worthy scenario in my mind, involving a jester’s hat, a farmer’s market, and a pan-pipe enema. So it’s strange that I find myself drawn to this LP of all-instrumental solo oud recordings by Derek Monypeny, the first-ever release on his new Raheem label.

It's doubly surprising that I care at all about this thing given Monypeny's credentials. Apparently he is a former member of the bands Oaxacan and Sir Richard Bishop's Freak Of Araby Ensemble (whoever that is - I guarantee you they're no Lothar And The Hand People). And get this - in 2009 he put out a solo double cassette on the Weird Forest label. The last time I had a
got-damn cassette tape in my hand, it said "Billy Idol" on it and I was throwing it across the room at my little sister. Anyway - this guy seems to be the exact model of "underground" buffoon who spends all his mom's money on effects pedals for his hella weird jams (of course they're "jams," and "rad" ones at that) - and yet he's made something genuinely intriguing here.

Side 1 consists of six very stark, intimate composed pieces. Almost as if Jandek took a trip to Mississippi via Istanbul and Calcutta, but had somebody help him get tuned up first. Real loner atmosphere here, authentic ache, no steel drums in sight.

Side 2 is made up of two long, tranced-out hunks of what the late Mr. Vliet once dubbed “psychedelic Bromo-Seltzer.” The last song, “Sobek” is an ecstatic 12-minute-plus undersea raga with crazed percussion, everything run through a severe phase-wah wringer that will scatter seeds and stems all over your study.

To sum up: This is one of those out-of-nowhere, higher-minded head scratchers that everybody loves. I salute Mr. Monypeny, and hope that Jeff Lynne lends him that spaceship from the Out Of The Blue tour sooner rather than later. 

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This product was added to our catalog on Sunday 17 July, 2011.

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