Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Michael Zapruder - Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope

Some albums are a beautiful thing to play all the way through; pick the right one, at the right time, and something you already like & know pretty well, can leave you feeling suitably startled at its goodness, & thinking how it was an exceedingly fine way to have spent the previous forty minutes or so. Not just aurally rewarded by pleasant music, but enriched, educated, enlightened even; and sometimes surprised by a nuance, an impression, that eluded you before.

I get that from say, a favourite recording of Elgar's cello concerto, or Lil Beethoven by Sparks, or more recently - Andrew Bird's Noble Beast, to name just a few; and now I've got another one, by Michael Zapruder. Like the others, Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope urges me to pop up the volume so as not to miss a thing, kick back, and listen.

even at the 128K I posted previously, this sounds great - better still in the higher quality below
Ads for Feelings - Michael Zapruder
Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope (released 24 March on SideCho Records)
buy on Cd - $9.99 | myspace | website | itunes

I love all the subtle details of the production, sweet little sounds you don't catch first time; the marvellous lyrics, especially (for me) on the tremendous, near nine minute ballad 'Black Wine'; and ahh, the sweet, spiritual, slow gospel'ish lullaby that is 'Harbor Saints'; great drumming & cymballing(!) on 'White Raven Sails', the artful bass playing throughout; and of course Michael's voice, which is just perfect for this kinda thoughtful, uncluttered, yet intricate music.

"Second Sunday in Ordinary Time' gives the lie to my use of intricate, being very sparse, mostly just acoustic guitar & vocals; the production feels quite different on that song, sort of older, nostalgic maybe? - but it works very well if taken that way. What doesn't work so nicely, is the album closer 'Experimental Film', which seems to share the mildly 78rpm sound, but without the charm. It's, well, unsettling - in rhythm, timbre, and lyrically... perhaps that's the idea - not all chocolate boxes & roses, see?. (gratuitous Jarvis quote).

I really recommend this album, hear a couple more tracks at myspace, but it's a better than the sum thing. You should also read the review at love shack, baby, (although I don't get the 'lo-fi' bit, save the final two tracks).

I gotta love any video with a cool cat in it...

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