Faith, Hope and Charity
Messy aesthetics ... part three
And yes, thank you for asking, it did turn rather messy for awhile there. So I've not really been out much.

Strangely though it is once again one of our local charity shops that has provided the best possible tonic. They seem to have some well-connected donor, who passes on all sorts of odd promo material. So, for instance, recent visits have seen me acquire the LTM Cool As Ice collection (and Life's ´Tell Me' appearing again should be an excuse for a public holiday) and a wonderful Sandie Shaw sings in Italian set (which is unbelievably sexy!).

Better still this week I have picked up two of the most beautiful records released this year, and they could so easily have passed me by. Back in the summer one of the highlights was the Fence Records' King Creosote CDR which appeared as part of the Picket Fence collectors series. I know very little of the King, but suspect he is of the bearded, woolly hatted, incredibly talented but resolutely nonchalent mould, who probably writes a couple of heartbreakingly beautiful classic songs while walking down to the paper shop each morning. I certainly didn't know he had released a 'proper' CD on Fence which could be bought in 'proper' places. Yet there for ú3 in my charity shop was a copy of King Creosote's Kenny & Beth's Musakal Boat Rides. Thank you whoever!

And yes, the CD is full of incredibly beautiful, heatbreakingly gorgeous songs. Lovely little folksongs, with perfect embellishments like beaten-up accordions and crackly electronics and stray samples. Really it is lovely stuff, and there is even one song which is my favourite and is called ´Spokes' and goes something like 'I lost myself along the cliffs. I rode a bike with the razor saddle. I hated everyone in my sight'. I suspect our editor will love that one.

The strange twisted folk theme continues with the other CD, which is Matmos' Civil War. Now I almost left this behind, putting it down as a bit of a Wire waste of effort. But it's a beautiful record, and maybe I should have read that 32-page Matmos special they seem to run every other month. It's got that same crackling broken electronica meets non-specific folk melody feel that pervades King Creosote. And in case you're wondering it's a non-specific civil war record, and I suppose mixes up traces of the American, English and Spanish, to name but three. Who cares anyway? It's just got some lovely moments on.

Like, near the start of the fourth track where it sounds like the drums from Iggy's ´Lust For Life' come in, but of course they never sounded this good except in your head. And you can see the kids in some high school pipe & drums corps really getting into that groove marching on some godforsakingly cold morning.

Which reminds me of the strange experience I had back in the summer when I went for a walk down at Hall Place, and the place was overrun by all sorts of idiots dressed up for a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg or something, with real guns and everything, all dressed up authentically on a horrible sticky Sunday afternoon. It was seriously disturbing stuff. And this Matmos record would have been perfect to have blaring out over the public address system.

So, maybe I have done the Matmos boys a disservice over the years by ignoring their records. They have after all been closely involved with Bjork, and I am a huge Bjork fan as long as I don't have to hear her records. She is probably the best pop star we have, assuming she is still a pop star.

Anyway, going back to the King Creosote record (buy it at folks), the sleevenotes refer to the strange connections that can be made on the internet. I agree. I was checking this week to see if any new Andrea Parker records were on the horizon, and almost got myself in a lot of trouble. What I did discover was that the great Andrea is best mates with the equally great Mira Calix (who gave us one of the year's greatest records in Skimskitta, and one that fits in nicely along the two mentioned here), and that they were appearing together. Now I'm sorry but shouldn't that have been worthy of more media coverage than a World Cup win? Andrea and Mira together. Wow! Did anyone get to see any of the appearances?

Anyway, I am bagsying the promo copy of the imminent Arthur Russell Soul Jazz compilation when it appears up the road. So hands off if you see it first folks.

© 2003John Carney