Sunday, December 07, 2003

Fear Is The Mind Killer

Rayzd: Fear is The Mind Killer.

In the beginning was The Word.

Warning: Intelligent Lyrics. Lyrical dexterity to make Eminem sound tongue-tied. G, I really didn’t bargain on a profound thinker, but here he comes, movin’ to the beat, speakin’ in tongues. U can bet UR bo2m $ the text-messaging teens don’t give a sh^t about language. Try texting “Ludwig Wittgenstein” and stay fashionable. G even drops “verisimilitude” into the verbal mix.

Then came The Beat.

The Beat Goes On… Polyrythmically paradiddling daddy-o Buddy Rich on the sticks; daughter Cathy, drunk and 12.5 years old, swingin’ like a vet on lead vocals.

The Beat Goes On… Ginsberg’s angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.

The Beat Goes On… Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzband's marijuana, hipsters, peace & junk & drums!

The Beat Goes On... The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..

The Beat Goes On… Jack Kerouac genuflecting at the feet of Slim Gaillard during Groove Juice Special in some subterranean San Francisco jazz joint. Hit that Jive, Jack.

The Beat Goes On… Someone flicks a switch and suddenly I’m in a club in Montemarte discussing Derrida, impressing the chicks with a working knowledge of French Symbolism, drinking Absinthe and smoking jazz cigarettes while some impromptu bebop combo on a cartographic tip valiantly attempts to map the mysterious contours of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.

The Beat Stops. Dead... Cowell & Fuller's grim telegenic progeny monopolise the pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Soulless pap pre-packaged by accountants, produced by robots and purchased by media-lobotomized zombies.

Welcome to The Now Generation : Proponents of perpetual present. Speed freaks, intoxicated amnesiacs, Benzedrine buzzers, adrenaline junkies. Senseless speed annihilating memory, annihilating distance, annihilating past, present and future. G-Clef da Mad Komposa watches the kids on their freeway glide. Cruisin’ down the infinite highway. Past the point of no return. Going nowhere. Fast.

To The Now Generation, the amnesiac hordes, their last heartbeat is history and yesterday is anachronistic antiquity. “Back to the source” means last year. Old school is the nanosecond before Now. The past is sampled, recycled and assimilated into the New without a flicker of recognition from the amnesia kids.

Let’s go back, way back.... and when I say “old” I mean this was the school Methuselah used to play hookey from. Louis, Cab and co. were rapping over swing beats long before Dr. Dre enrolled for pre-med , back before Snoop Dog was a pup, way before Ol’ Dirty was a glint in poppa Bastard’s eye. “Imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism, homeyz” jokes some sinister Jim Carrey doppelgangbanger in his inimitable Cab Calloway meets Jerry Lewis persona non gratification of the Kyoto Protocolonic irrigation. Solid gone, G’s been blowin’ his horn since before the Now Generation were born. He’s always packin’ heat; hardwired to the street; keepin’ his shit sweet; tight to the beat.

The Beat Is Back.... Rayzde’s polyrhythmic beat alchemy: Hip-hop, drum & bass, jazz and swing flavours weave around eachother like suspicious women talking about the same punk. RZA jamming with Illinois Jacquet. Profoundly cinematic: One day Abel Ferrara or Jim Jarmusch is gonna get hip to the Rayzde tip. King of New York meets Ghost Dog. Rayzde’s soundtracks echo the languorous malevolence of Ferrara favourite Schooly D’s lean gangsta rap creations and the dense, multi-layered soundscapes of the Wu-Tang Clan are an obvious influence but there’s so much more in the mix. Dig that hipster vibe. These cats cut up, fold-in and subvert genres like Bill Burroughs on Benzedrine. Gangsta cool spliced with the ghost of swing past and a scintilla of Sun Ra’s extra-terrestrial mysticism. Frank White crawling like a vampire through these suburban streets, making love to these women, languid and bittersweet. Karen Carpenter lamenting Rainy Days and Mondays just like old times.

Here, There and Everywhere : Master magician G makes Paul McCartney sound hip. Hell, G could probably make Joe McCarthy sound hip. Prestidigitational perfection.

Thugbrat : Taut, dynamic reworking of one of New Yalloppin’ City’s finest tracks.
Your Mind: Jakineko’s virtuoso vocals, G-Clef’s alto and Mike Seropyan’s tenor do battle over a drum and bass backing; everybody wins.

I Know You Love Me: Hip-Hoperatic. Surreal and haunting tale of unrequited passion.

Nobody Knows : Peter Hartmann handles the vocal duties on another angst-ridden tale of lost love. G-Clef and Metatron trade rhymes: Ninja assassins exchanging blows to the solar plexus over Still Dre’s looped backing track.

We : Ghetto Swing Extreme reloaded. Sublime fusion of jazz and hip-hop. Gang Starr and Guru’s Jazzmatazz project strived to segue seamlessly between jazz and rap but G and his crew make this sh^t seem effortless.

I’m Beginning to See the Light : Dark, claustrophobic reading of Ellington’s swing standard. Voices and samples drop in and out like disembodied spirits: The Avaricious, the Wrathful and the Sullen live and direct from The Fifth Circle of Hell.

You and Whose Army : Radiohead get the Rayzd treatment.

Like Me : G’s laconic, propulsive rap, redolent of Rakim, complements Peter’s ethereal vocal perfectly.

Lost in a Dream: Lyrical, languid and lovely. Beautiful vocal from Jaki. G-Clef’s alto and tenor sax work is superb and Lord Sledge’s trumpet and Peter’s acoustic bass give this track an intimate, organic small combo sound.

Apparition : The ghost of Duke Ellington introduces this wonderful track. G and Pete take care of business delivering a bottom end heavy-mix of experimental electronics and electric bass. Jaki brings another great vocal to the table while Metatron and G-Clef rap around each other like mirror image matadors making moves with no bull. The track eventually careers off into improvisation and distortion.

Theme from Dune: Eno gets the Rayzd workover.

Toxic culture shock syndrome for Now Generation brats addicted to the pop pap pusher’s placebo: Rayzd are the real deal. Creative, independent music with integrity lovingly crafted by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.

FITMK : Masterpiece. F**k fear. Open your mind.

eugene ionesco

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Vegas Swings

Let's rewind to the halcyon days of the town they call "Lost Wages", back before they strapped a sack of dynamite to The Sands. This is Bugsy's town but its Frankie's world and Dino, Sammy and co. have the whole sweet swingin' sphere locked down tight into a Nevada state of mind. Fast forward forty plus years and a new breed of sultans of swing are blowin' cooler than an Ipanema breeze and hotter than an Acapulco afternoon. Welcome to the new lounge and swing generation. Vegas Swings once again.

This smokin' NYC combo mix street swing, jazz and hip-hop. Dr.Dre meets Count Basie Orchestra, or theWu Tang jammin' with Duke Ellington. G-clef Da Mad Komposa and his crew know Cab Calloway and the zoot suited swing pioneers were the prototype for for today's rap superstars. The Hounds' sound tougher than a Bronx street hood but tender like midnight in Manhattan. Harlem Apollo meets the Rainbow Room. Romantic Thugz is the East Coast anthem for the neo-swing generation, the cool New York hipster flipside to Californian cats Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's hedonistic West Coast sound. Daddy Make It Feel Good is another truly outstanding track from The Hounds., true pioneers of swing/hip-hop/jazz crossover. Long may they continue to innovate and inspire. For more info go to

“Close your eyes and imagine the scene : the time is the golden 1950’s era of Las Vegas, Nevada. You’re new in town, just driving around, checking out what’s hot From the Desert Inn, the Sahara, the Sands, and the other casino lounges you hear the sounds of Louis Prima & Keely Smith, Dean Martin, The Treniers, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. If only you could have been there and heard that great music, felt that excitement, tasted that electric atmosphere”Revisit the halcyon days of the Las Vegas lounges with the UK’s very own Ray Gelato and the Giants. This combo swings like Sam Butera and the Witnesses, Louis Prima’s legendary backing group, in their prime. For more info go to

This swingin’ Seattle septet swings most righteously. Lounge lizards par excellence, HB Radke and the Jet City Swingers are for the cocktail culture cognoscenti. Included here is a hipster take on Bacharach’s I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and a showstopping version of “I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane” which has become a set-closing classic at Vegas. As a special bonus for this cd hepcat HB and Seattle’s most swinging combo recorded a special version of Viva Las Vegas for our exclusive delectation and delight. What a top guy and what a top band! For more info go to

THE GOOD FELLAS The Good Fellas are a superb swinging combo from Italy. Led by charismatic bandleader Lucky Luciano these guys first came to attention in 1997 backing Ray Gelato on Gangsters of Swing. On the cover of the Bologna-based swingers’ debut cd Salute! they look like the cast from a Martin Scorsese movie : real Italian mafiosa style!, A nice mix of indigineous Italian numbers and swing classics. Their main influences are Louis Prima and Sam Butera and the Witnesses. The Good Fellas certainly emulate the sounds of these dynamite Vegas swing outfits but their Italian language vocals give their sound an interesting new dimension. For more info go to

NYC duo DTS are musical maestro Dave Cauter and beguiling chanteuse Kelly Flint, mainstays of the Big Apple’s cult underground neo-lounge scene. Hipsters, bohemians and lounge lizards can catch Dave’s True Story playing regularly at clubs like The Living Room, The Cooler, and The Stinger Club. DTS create a beguiling jazz noir sound redolent of smoky nightcubs and sultry sirens. DTS’s lyrics are literate, wordy and ironic, evoking the heyday of bohemia but with a hip postmodern twist. Kelly sounds like a latter day Julie London; conspiratorially cool as any fatally flawed femme fatale should be she narrates the tale of the crazy chick in the “Sequined Mermaid Dress.” For more info go to

This hot UK swing combo go loco down South America way with a sensational version of Earl Grant's classic House of Bamboo. The vocal duties are handled by a fabulous UK singer called Sophie Garner who features on this track as her alter ego flamboyant Brazilian chanteuse "Coco Calypso." Many great artists have covered this tune including the incomparable Andy Williams, but Sophie and her 8-piece backing band bring some new, decidely spicy, ingredients to the table and succeed in supplying an already exotic cocktail with a sassy new kick. For more info go to

Swinging stockbrokers from Stoke. Charismatic corporate raiders “united by a love of swing, jump-blues, ska, dirty skanky beats and cold hard profit.” Fat Cats on The Prowl is taken from the bands debut cd Keeping Up With the Dow Joneses and is a superb slice of neo-swing with a street-wise UK sensibility. Like how Big Bad Voodoo Daddy might sound if they came from Sheffield instead of Los Angeles and featured in one of Guy Ritchie’s gritty gangster flicks rather than Swingers. These guys put the “urban” in “urbane” and the “street” in “street swing.” For more info go to

JS-6 take a full measure of lounge lizard cool, add a liberal dash of hipster swing, lashings of catchy melodic pop, witty lyrics, a great sense of humor and a twist of 60’s kitsch then shake vigorously until the irresistible retro party sound of Jet Set Six explodes like Vesuvius over Pompeii. JS-6 are not just a fun band -these guys can play. Punchy horns and irresistible rhythms are their trademark. And of course there’s the leader of the pack chief songwriter, vocalist and guitarist John Ceperano, a smooth crooner with a gift for wonderfully witty wordplay.JS-6 featured regularly at the World Trade Centre Windows on the World restaurant, where John also promoted kitsch retro nights like Spy-Fi Fridays. For more info go to

Seks Bomba are an eccentric, eclectic combo from Boston. Their music is an exotic cocktail of surf, lounge, exotica, 60’s psychedelia/ Hammond-led instrumentals and Lalo Schifrin/Quincy Jones/Hugo Montenegro style soundtracks. Add a twist of bossa nova and garnish the whole intoxicating combo with Bacharach’s pop sensibility and you have a very pleasurable mix of cocktail cool, esoteric exotica and cheezy eazy. Take The Ventures, Dick Dale, Booker T and the MG’s, Henry Mancini, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Burt Bacharach, stir well and pour liberally over an imaginary James Bond flick set in a 60’s go-go club and you might just get something which sounds a little like Seks Bomba. For more info go to

Cocktail Angst are a combo creating a commotion on the NYC neo-lounge circuit. Beguiling chanteuse and songwriter Toby Williams’ style is reminiscent of Peggy Lee at her most world-weary and intoxicating. Take a dash of Is That All There Is era Lee, add a splash of psychedelia, a twist of mordant wit and garnish with a liberal sprinkling of urbane sophistication. “Good Luck Charm”is as evocative an homage to the lure of Vegas as any, ever. Last Tango in Vegas bemoans the conversion of Nevada’s magnificently seedy oasis into a Disneyland-style theme park (“What have they done to Bugsy’s town?”) Cocktail Angst : wonderfully evocative, sinister, literate lounge music for aficionados. For more info go to

SHAG Cover art for Vegas Swings is an original work by hip Californian lounge artist Josh Agle ("Shag"). Shag's work is influenced by avant-garde animation of the 50's and early 60's as well as commercial art of the same period and is sought after by collectors worldwide, including the obligatory Movie Stars, Rock Stars and Hollywood Producers eager to hang "Shag Art" on their walls. and he exhibits regularly in galleries in New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Tokyo and his native California. When not painting Shag spends his time "converting his home/studio into a supervillian's hideout of space-age gadgets and martinis at noon". For more info go to

Frankie Sumatra ~ Nov 2003

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Gangs of New York

OK, I've just seen this sucker ~ it usually takes the best part of a month for these Hollywood blockbusters to make the leap from L.A. to a magic lantern house in the vicinity of Casa del ionesco: and I thought we were living in the digital age - same old, same old. Parochial Edinboro, Scotchland, I'm guessing, isn't high on Miramax's hitlist for opening weekend market penetration.

A few months back my assessment of this movie was:

"The DiCaprio factor chills me to the bone...

That and the fact that Marty's been locked away in an editing room since the late 20th century cutting this baby down to bite-sized blockbuster dimensions. Miramax head honcho Harv. Weinstein is rumoured to have "taken an active interest" in the final cut. This is not a good thing.

My best guess: after last year's African-American triple whammy of Halle, Denzil and Sidney expect the Academy to finally get around to patronising the woefully marginalized Italian-American community by awarding Marty a long overdue "Best Director" gong.

You can bet Gangs of New York will be no Raging Bull."

Now I've seen it my opinion is the same but with additions.

Di Caprio: bad move. A sop to the youth demographic. What was I saying about Art being compromised by Commerce? Scorsese is the ultimate cinematic artist but Diaz and Di Caprio were mistakes: bland, photogenic ciphers.

Worst scene? The scar-kissing fiasco. I'm ready to believe the callow putz Di Caprio is fresh outta the birth canal but a battle-scarred warrior?

Funniest moment? Bill da Butcher headbutting Leo half a dozen times and scarring him "beyond repair":

I want you to live in shame!

Bill, buddy, have a word with Leo's agent, willya? The biggest concession you're gonna get is:

My client is prepared to hang out in the shadows, vaguely angst-ridden, with Cameron Diaz for 5 minutes tops, baby. After that it's business as usual.

Photogenic scars barely visible to the human eye but enough to suggest character-forming catharsis. I thought we'd just gone into flashback the next time we saw Leo onscreen after the trauma. Nice work, makeup dept!

Having said that Daniel Day-Lewis sold out his Irish heritage magnificently as Bill da Butcher. A faultless impersonation of Bobby De Niro: method devouring method ~ quintessential post-modern movie magic.

True star of the film: Edinburgh's own Gazza McCormack as Bill's mute henchman. Gazza was offered a speaking part but refused to utter the line Die Hibernian scum. A true Celtic warrior.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Killer Movie Scenes ~ Hellzapoppin' ~ The Lindyhop Scene

One of my favourite movie moments is from an obscure, surreal comedy flick from 1941 called Hellzapoppin' which starred the, now long-forgotten, comedy duo Olsen & Johnson.

Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson starred in a legendary 1930's Broadway show of the same name which preceded the movie version. The long-running stage show was, according to contemporary reviews, generally considered far superior to the later celluloid incarnation.

It must have been some show because, amongst other inspired delights Hellzapoppin' (the movie) contains probably the most exhilirating dance sequence ever committed to film (and that includes Jean-Luc Godard's fantastic Bande à Part in which Anna Karina dances The Madison so intoxicatingly with Sami Frey & Claude Brasseur - the cinematic dance which later inspired Quentin Tarantino to name his production company after the movie and which provided the template for John Travolta & Uma Thurman's Jackrabbit Slim sequence in Pulp Fiction).

The lindyhop dance routine in Hellzapoppin', performed by The Harlem Congaroo Dancers (choreographed by the legendary Frankie Manning), to the accompaniment of an impromptu jam session by swing pioneers Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart and their band, has to be seen to be believed and is, probably, my favourite movie sequence of all time.

It's hard to believe it dates from 1941: it makes all subsequent movie dance routines look anaemic by comparison. The routine is so wild and abandoned it's hard to believe it's happening in real time and hasn't been speeded-up. The ferocity with which the dancers are propelled like projectiles by the leads in a series of ever-more improbable ariel moves seems, to the modern sensibility, to be not only politically incorrect but borderline illegal. One thing's for sure: never has a dance routine seemed so vital.

This is a moment of bona fide cinematic genius, the likes of which, I'll venture to say, has never been and will never be eclipsed in the history of Hollywood. The audacious power of this sequence is only reinforced by it's utter incongruity within the context of the movie. Like many of Hellzapoppin's best scenes there is no reason for this sequence to be included, it has no relevance to the "plot" but what delights here is the wonderfully organic development of this scene.

A couple of household workers (Slim and Slam) are tidying up a music room and when curiosity gets the better of them they can't resist trying out the piano and stand-up bass for themselves. At first hesitant, they quickly discover they have an improbable knack for knockin' out a swingin' tune. The sweet musical commotion attracts the interest of the cook who, needless to say, starts blowing a mean trumpet. More inspirational savant horn players, recruited from the ranks of curious passers-by, join in and a fantastic percussionist materialises from somewhere within the talented ranks of domestic servitude. The chambermaids start dancing wildly with the mechanics, the cooks with the female kitchen staff and before we know it we have a scene of intoxicating musical hedonism and astonishing dancing.

The scene disappears as inexplicably as it appeared: the players and dancers melting back into their subordinate roles as domestic servants and minor players within the movie and the "plot" resumes as if nothing has happened. I'm sure this scene could be interpreted, politically and sociologically, as both a libertarian subversion of stereotypical class/ race/ gender roles and a reactionary confirmation of them but I'll leave that to the academics. One thing I do know is this scene is pure cinematic genius.

Only a handful of current directors have the inspiration, the artistic integrity and the audacity to surprise, confuse and amaze (David Lynch is one of the very few who springs to mind) but it's hard to imagine a movie which so comprehensively subverts prevailing cinematic conventions as HC Potter's utterly unique Hellzapoppin'.

There are also many inspired comic moments from surreal comedians Olsen & Johnson which, subsequently, clearly influenced everyone from Tex Avery to Monty Python. Hellzapoppin' is rather patchy: many of the jokes fall flat and it suffers from having a bogus romantic plot grafted on by nervous studio execs (plus çá change..) but at it's best is inspired, inventive and iconoclastic.

What I'd give to be able to travel back in time to witness the Broadway show first hand! There was next to no script: the entire show was completely spontaneous and improvised each night and no two shows were ever the same. I'd love to have seen it but I guess I'll just have to settle for this contemporary review of Olsen and Johnson's "rambunctious, nonsensical buffoonery.":

The masters of "anything-goes-mayhem" created their most chaotic conglomeration of comedy routines for the stage smash Hellzapoppin', which opened at New York's 46th Street Theater on September 22, 1938.

Broadway critic Brooks Atkinson wrote:

Folks, it's going to be a little difficult to describe this one. Anything goes in Hellzapoppin' -- noise, vulgarity, and practical joking. Olsen and Johnson make their entrance in a clownish automobile, and the uproar begins. There is no relief, even during the intermission, when a clown roams the aisles. You can hear some lymphatic fiddling by rotund Shirley Wayne who looks as though she has just finished frying a mess of doughnuts. It is mainly a helter-skelter assembly of low comedy gags to an ear-splitting sound accompaniment. If you can imagine a demented vaudeville brawl without the Marx brothers, Hellzapoppin is it ... and a good part of it is loud, low, and funny!"

Opening with a mock newsreel in which Hitler spoke with a Yiddish accent, Hellzapoppin' had slapstick hilarity and so many wild audience participation gags that the score by composer Sammy Fain and lyricist Charles Tobias was almost an afterthought; as if anyone cared about songs with titles like "Fuddle Dee Duddle"? Midgets, clowns and trained pigeons added a circus touch, and performers kept plowing through the audience with all sorts of interactive gags. New skits were constantly being added, and audiences kept coming back for fresh doses of the insanity.

The show consisted of two acts with 25 scenes, during which the audience was bombarded with eggs and bananas. Then when the lights went out, the audience was besieged with rubber snakes and spiders. A woman ran up and down the aisles shouting out in a loud tenement voice for "Oscar! Oscar!" Meanwhile, a ticket salesman began to hawk tickets for a rival show (I Married an Angel). The Broadway madness ran for a record breaking 1,404 performances

Hellzapoppin' Swing Dance Routine

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Planet Dan

The arrival of a new Dan album provides the perfect pretext for the cognoscenti to break out the hats and hooters and rev up the motor scooters.

Now it's nine immaculate alien artefacts, polished to perfection and unleashed on an unworthy world. Add in Fagen's magna opera The Nightfly & Kamakiriad and you've got a first eleven capable of capturing the World Cup of Cool.

A statutory prohibition should be placed upon Dan reviews until such time as the reviewer has adequately assimilated their latest languorous, languid, bittersweet, blissful, cryptic, cynical, entrancing, encoded communiqué into the bloodstream.

Like love affairs Don & Walt’s work can only be evaluated and contextualized in retrospect. As assuredly as ephemeral lipstick traces mutate into life's lingering leitmotifs, the Dan’s spectral melodies and enigmatic lyrics haunt past, present and future, defying definition.

As Pretzel Logic suggests, it’s time for a retrospective trip round Planet Dan, Don & Walt’s off-world theme park: Your Kamakiri awaits. Lock the cool rolling bubble into samba mode and let our guide, Senor Trip Star, take the strain. Drop me off in Groove time, amigo.

Memo to the Carmaker Corporation : We could sure use a routing satellite with a personal touch. I miss my old chauffeur Ernie’s easy smile and well-honed homilies. I never really bargained on a profound thinker but here he comes; moving’ to the beat, speaking’ in tongues. Ernie knows Planet Dan like the back of his hand. One of Don & Walt’s “Cabs to the Stars” guys. Typical Ernie:

Avoid that Barry town beat, boys. Over there in Barry town they do things very strange. I picked up this fare the other day. Wanted me to take him to The Netherlands. Coulda sworn he said the Netherworld.

In the sales pitch they told me I could expect to, and I quote, “crawl like a viper through these suburban streets, make love to these women languid and bittersweet”. Yeah, right! First job I get is to deliver a consignment of bodacious cowboys to The Custerdome.

I been all over Planet Dan : The Manitee Bar, Laughing Pines, Cape Sincere, Club Hi Ho (that junction between Bleak and Divine is a beaut) then I get this: Proceed from Shielus to the Reefs of Kizmar, Stargate to the Outer Worlds.

Who do these clowns think I am? Some kinda Philip K. Dickless wonder?

I ain’t budgin’ from the foot of Mt. Belzoni without Don & Walt’s personal say so. The Trans-island Skyway is a dangerous place I can tell you, amigo.

Until I hear different I’m gonna stick to my usual route: Magnolia Boulevard, Biscayne Bay, Café D’Escargot, Slow Hand Row, you know the rest.

Still, I guess you heard the news? They say Cathy Barberian finally sang that roulade. It came as a relief to us all, I can tell you.

A pair of geeky jazz-punk hipster subversives name their band after a dildo in a Bill Burroughs novel and proceed to smuggle nuggets of brilliantly barbed ironic content into the rock mainstream. Don & Walt fashion a deceptively smooth sound, betraying both unimpeachable musicality and a Bacharach-like ability to render the most complex, shape-shifting arrangements accessible to the listener, by utilising basic magician’s misdirection: cranking the hook factor up to 11. Sweet sentiment-free sarcasm and mellifluous misanthropy covertly couriered on butterfly wings direct to the mainstream. Popular musical stealth bombs, lovingly adopted by lounge singers and execrable jazz-funk outfits witlessly claiming improbable kinship with our faux-bland revolutionaries.

A neat summation of Don & Walt’s Âge D'or?

Sharing the things we know and love with those of my kind,
Libations, sensations, to stagger the mind
should suffice.

I’m only just starting to get a handle on 2vN and you want me to wax lyrical about Everything Must Go already? Hell, Gaucho’s Time Out of Mind only revealed it’s latest exquisite core of meaning last weekend when that fragile, precious, vulnerable, beautiful blonde and I diversified our emotional investment portfolio by supplementing gilt-edged friendship with speculative raids into spirituality and physicality with delightful, delicious dividends.


A few months back : That deceptive first impression (for what it's worth) : Blues Beach: Kamakiriad deluxe; Things I Miss The Most : Stone cold classic, no argument; Slang of Ages : Next time you get the urge to croon, Walt...don't.
Definitive review to follow no time soon.

Now : That deceptive second impression (for what it’s worth) : The Last Mall : The Four Horsemen of the Gapocalypse ; Blues Beach: Kamakiriad deluxe ; Things I Miss The Most : stone cold classic, no argument; Slang of Ages : Next time you get the urge to croon, Walt...don't.
Definitive review to follow no time soon.

Hell, what can I do but review 2vN?

2vN finds Don & Walt locked in tight to a predatory groove : Hey Nineteen: The Sequel stretched membrane-thin over an entire album's duration.

Rock stars of a certain age can’t find solace in anything but the narcotic buzz of youth. Not in art, not in literature, not in music or drugs. Nothing can compare with a pretty nineteen year old’s streamlined vacuity. Nineteen glides through the world effortlessly. Noise free. No static at all. And when she goes she leaves almost nothing of herself. No vapour trail. No messy detritus of the psyche. A snapshot of grace, a frozen moment of perfection locked away from the malevolent influence of time’s idling assassin.

In 2vN Don & Walt sound a decade older, a decade more embittered. Kids today can barely remember Janet Jackson let alone 'Retha Franklin. The Dan's clipped, crystalline funk sounds ever more brittle and other-worldly. An alien artefact: Anaemic, extra-terrestrial Earth Wind & Ice doppelgangers jammin' Siberian-style; snare drum sounding crisp and dry as a winter morning in Tunguska, tighter than security at a Presidential motorcade.

What a Shame About Me : Yet another Dan “Here’s to the losers” anthem but instead of Deacon Blues' seductive outlaw chic ~I'll learn to work the saxophone, I'll play just what I feel, Drink Scotch whisky all night long, And die behind the wheel ~ we're treated to the unedifying sound of old men whining ~
I said babe you look delicious and you're standing very close, But this is like Lower Broadway, And you're talking to a ghost, Take a good look it's easy to see, What a shame about me.

Atypical Dan disdain for the Dionysian is a temporary aberration. Polymorphously perverse service is promptly resumed when barely post-pubescent Janie Runaway hops off the Tampa-NYC bus and strays straight into the predatory pair’s headlights. Post-Janie Don & Walt are still sizzling like Viagra-fuelled isotopes at the sight of yet another pulchritudinous playpal.

This Almost Gothic chick pure science with a splash of black cat succumbs to the cheesiest of chat up routines: You be the showgirl, I’ll be Sinatra, way back in ‘59.

The old ones are the best and Don & Walt are older, and, arguably, still better, than the rest combined.

Cousin Dupree is the Dan’s modest contribution to the canon of classic popular songs satirizing good ol' down home Southern fried incest and child molestation.

Straight from Cousin Dupree's frying pan into Negative Girl’s cold white flame, Don & Walt run the gamut of middle-aged men’s emotions from A to B.

Dupree’s killer dreary architecture of your soul line notwithstanding, this album is thematically moribund and lyrically uninspired. The Kamakiri’s on cruise control, locked in tight to a faux-ironic predatory groove.

Planet Prosaic populated by men of a certain age desperately searching for one last hedonistic fling before the prostate problems kick in. Sounds like New York City Penitentiary to me : Lower Broadway, Dean & Deluca, Gramercy Park, Bleecker Street. Where are those exotic destinations now? Ernie’s confined to the Big Apple these days.

Drop me off in Groovetime, Mr Borgnine, and don’t spare the horses.

Your chariot awaits, Snake.

Just like Ernie. A subtle deconstruction of Demetrius and the Gladiators via Escape from New York and still time for an easy smile and a well-honed homily. Happy retirement, fella.

eugene ionesco