Friday, February 04, 2005

Jarboe, Pinkie, and John

So just in case anyone missed it, there've been a bunch of Jarboe reissues lately, Jarboe being best known as the female foil to Michael Gira's manly id back when NYC noise-pulverizers turned goth-folkies Swans were around.

The reissue that I find most interesting is called A Mystery Of Faith. It contains a bunch of tracks that feature Jarboe on vocals from around the time that Swans were moving away from crunch bang suffer suffer boom crunch and towards music that you could play for your open minded Renaissance Fair friends. All are either unreleased or got left off of the Swans reissue series.

Details are here. The main things to know are 1. this CD isn't something you're probably going to sit down and listen to straight through, since there are multiple versions of most of the tracks and 2. some of these versions are great and some not so great. Personally, I find that a little Jarboe goes far, especially without some Gira to clear your sinuses, but not everyone feels that way. In fairness, Swans were a band whose alternate versions were often worth the hassle of acquiring.

Buying advice: when I saw this album at Kim's, it was kind of pricy ($22, I think). Then I noticed that it was available from eMusic. So I downloaded it from there, and discovered that the track names don't match correctly. I don't know if this has been fixed, but eMusic's customer service is traditionally the pits, so I'm not holding my breath. Also, the CD liner notes presumably give details about what the various versions are. So your best bet is probably to buy the CD.

I still wish that Gira would just reissue Ten Songs For Another World without bonus tracks, as it's a perfect album as is. Even though most of it is now available elsewhere, it's one of those albums where sequencing matters.

Another place to go for your mid-period Swans fix might be Pinkie Maclure and John Wills. I don't think either of these two are well known in the remember Loop or Hair and Skin Trading Company? John Wills was their drummer.

[Actually, Hair and Skin Trading Company put out one album that I really love, with the easy-to-remember title Psychedelische Musique (Lava Surf Kunst). I think I'll talk about it next week.]

Anways, John and Pinkie have a new album coming out later this year called Cat's Cradle, and recently sent out a sampler to people who signed up at their website. It's really nice folk-influenced soundscaping, with a tinge of goth (in a good way) and reminds me very much of World Of Skin with less tunes and more atmosphere. Fans of Nico might also be on board, as well as devotees of this new-fangled mystical-folk thing that's been going on in the US lately.

From it, here's The Bending Wood.

And here's an earlier track, Memorial Crossing. If you ever thought that KLF's Chill Out would sound better if it was only five minutes long and performed by a pagan cult, this is the track for you. I like it muchly.

While it's not officially coming out until April, Cat's Cradle is apparently available for purchase now if you're on their mailing list (that's what the insert to the sampler CD says) so write to them and see what's up.

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