Monday, April 24, 2006


Recent purchases from Mr Dawg.

"Garden Ruin" - Calexico: it's our old friends from down Tucson way performing their melange of desert songs and gringo music. "Garden Ruin" is stripped down, then again seeks to evoke that elusive high desert sunset.

"Congotronics" - Konono No.1: Ok, I admit that their appearance at the recent BBC "World " music awards persuaded me to go out and buy "Congotronics". In defence, I've been meaning to get hold of Konono No.1 recordings since I nearly saw them perform at the Festival Hall a couple of years back. It was the old African musicians in visa snafu that prevented them supporting (I think) Tortoise. In their place, a video of the Congolese version of a steel band was shown. Mr Sucker for new sounds thought, "yes I'll trot along to my local record emporium tomorrow". Then forgot.

"In the Heart of the Moon" - Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate: up and across a bit from Congo is Mali, with its rich musical tradition. No steel finger pianos from the city dump here. Diabate is a fine exponent of the Kora, a delicate harp like instrument. On this CD he's joined by the great guitarist and singer Toure, who sadly died last month. I was fortunate to see Ali Farka Toure a couple of times, the first thanks in part to a friend of a friend who used to write for The Wire magazine. That night at the Clapham Grand I was immediately hooked by this fantastic interpreter of African "blues". Sadly missed: this album is a great epitaph.

"Lunatico" - Gotan Project: Gotan, of course, is tango spelt backwards. Led by a couple of French DJs, Gotan made a bit of impact five years or so back with their innovative take on the traditional Argentine (or is it Finnish) dance, particularly the music of Astor Piazzolla. Their lavish and stylised live performances swept all before them and their tunes backed TV commercials. "Lunatico", shame, is a bit bland and perhaps shows that the idea has been drained of most of its life.

"At War with the Mystics" - Flaming Lips: Dah Lips are back! Dress up in a furry animal outfit and dance on stage! Blow up balloons. Crunch on blood capsules. Sing along with Wayne. Watch Wayne on Top of the Pops. Think "hmmm. This sounds very much like 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots'"