I posted previously about this enigma of a band – one short LP in the last 28 years [profile | miniscule discography] – when the new EP “InGladAloneness” finally had a release date. Well, it’s here and it’s a mixed bag. But mainly good, I think.
It is, of course, oh too brief. A mere five tracks not even hitting 20 minutes. Surely there were some remixes or out-takes which could have been included. The artwork, typography and booklet is lovely, and it is this kind of artwork which reminds me of why vinyl, and record cover’s large surface areas, were essential.
“The Waking Hour” – Dalis Car’s debut, and only, LP was characterised largely by the production, synth & drum machine sounds and production. It sounds dated now, very 80s.
This LP has been recorded in a different way – largely live, and Steve Jansen (the Japan drummer and David Sylvian’s brother) is now behind the kit (with original Dalis Car drummer Paul Lawford now playing congas), and also in the producer’s chair.
Just like the very late Japan material, Rain Tree Crow and David Sylvian solo material, the mix is open and clear and natural. But the mastering seems really loud, and at times adds a harsh edge to the sound. The track listing runs:
- King Cloud
- Artemis Rise
- If You Go Away
The first three tracks – King Cloud, Soundcloud and Artemis Rise sit together nicely – full band songs with a thick, syrupy, double-tracked fretless bass dominating. The final two tracks stray into a more experimental field.
King Cloud hears Peter Murphy in fully philosophical mode – “the whole wide world is outside in, death is how we all begin”, while Mick Karn’s fantastic walking bass line is hypnotic. There is also a lead guitar picking out licks (Dave Gilmour-y, Robert Fripp-y at times). The song ends with a distorted Murphy monologue over a multi-Murphy chorus singing “King Cloud” (I hear a similar vibe to the Burning from the Inside LP).
Soundcloud picks up the tempo a little, and is a little more hookey. The bass-line moves to a discordant scale (jazz! nice!), and Murphy is getting quite Bowie, (but then again when isn’t he) in a Young Americans era Bowie kind of way.
Artemis Rise originally appeared on the first Dalis Car (as simply Artemis), but this is an all new version with a new vocal (the original was instrumental). And the vibe is different as well, the track moves in a different way even though all of the components from the original are there. This ends with a real grove – a multi-Murphy chorus over a Tribal beat, again very Young Americans era Bowie vibe. I like this a lot.
Subhanallah is a traditional song, I know nothing about it! A multi-layered vocal – not just Murphy, over a growing, ethereal background of strings, synths and bass.
If You Go Away is a cover of “Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Jacques Brel. It reminds me of a soundtrack piece – Barry Adamson or Tom Waits – everything drenched in reverb and for the first minute a saxophones and piano pick out odd notes over an ethereal, vague background. Then an acoustic guitar comes in, plucking chords, the strings coalesce and Murphy comes in reciting Jaques Brel’s poem, which I believe was one of Mick Karn’s favourite pieces. Murphy is resplendent in full Scott Walker mode, and a fitting finale it is.
Mick Karn sadly passed away in January 2010 and this was his final musical venture. My biggest concern was that, as his final work, it could leave an unnecessary stain on an impressive and influential body of work. But is doesn’t – this is a good listen and it bears repeated listening. Personally, I coul shave lived without Subhanallah but there are many reasons why this pice may be on the record so we’ll park it there.
Do you like Japan, Bauhaus, Dance-era Gary Numan or 70’s Bowie, et al? Then give this a go. F*ck it, give it a go ayway and share in Mick Karn’s swansong. Buy it here, or on iTunes (remember the money goes to help his family).
We love you Mick – R.I.P.
Nice one Peter – best thing for a while. Now go and make friends with Danny, David and Kevin and make that fantastic Bauhaus LP that is screaming to get out!
The entire recording ensemble comprises:
- Peter Murphy – lyrics and vocals, keyboards
- Mick Karn – bass, bass clarinet, additional guitars
- Steve Jansen – Drums
- Jakko M Jakszyk – Nylon Acoustic, Electric Guitars, and Gu Zheng
- Theo Travis – Saxophones and Flute
- Sengul – Additional Vocals on “Subhanallah”
- Gill Morley – Violin
- Ellen Blair – Violin and Viola
- Pete Lockett – Percussion
- Paul Lawford – Congas
- Steve D’Agostino – Additional Keyboards