Thighpaulsandra - "Double Vulgar II"
(Beta-Lactum Ring Records 2005, mt089)
From Aural Innovations #31 (June 2005)
Though I've not heard any of Thighpaulsandra's solo works prior to this one, I was quite familiar with his work with Julian Cope on albums like 25 Mothers and Interpreter, as well as the Cope side projects LAMF, Brain Donor, and especially the "glambient" Queen Elizabeth. Thighpaulsandra has also been a regular member of both Spiritualized and Coil.
Double Vulgar II is a sprawling, experimental electro-acoustic ambient work with touches of jazz and avant-garde classical, Krautrock, electronic and industrial music. All of these influences can be heard on even just the first track, The Vile Receipt, which also features a very peculiar vocalist who claims to have perfect nostrils and sings musical questions such as "Where is the vase?" and "Does the commander wear glasses?" The retro-vocal stylings juxtaposed with a vaguely kinky, art-house atmosphere can be quite unsettling at times. In fact, kinkiness definitely seems to be an underlying element to the album, from the controversial homoerotic cover art (by Coil's Peter Christopherson) to the suggestions of retro-futuristic fetishism that underlie much of the music. Telly For Rex, for example, is like the soundtrack to some kind of detached, electronic distopian future colliding with free jazz that climaxes with a throbbing, psychedelic rock and roll freak out. Imperial transforms from weird, swelling orchestral textures into some truly inspired industrial jazz, full of vibes, cinematic atmospherics and deliciously crunchy rhythms, then slips finally into a dark void of swirling electronics. The pleasantly titled Vomiting Child begins with random, experimental textures but evolves quite surprisingly into lush and beautiful, atmospheric pop that reminded me of latter day Japan or some of David Sylvian's solo works. Bost Sanvay Unst Bit Sumonver finishes things off with a lengthy, complex journey through jazzy electro/industrial-ambient landscapes.
This final piece especially emphasizes something that the whole of Double Vulgar II is testament to, that Thighpaulsandra is very deftly skilled at making the experimental quite listenable. Never resorting to noise or complete chaos, he nonetheless continues to surprise with every twist and turn as each piece slowly evolves, taking on new directions and identities with every passage, yet all of it going towards completing the whole.
For more information you can visit the Thighpaulsandra web site at: http://www.thighpaulsandra.com.
Beta-Lactum Records web site at: http://www.blrrecords.com.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald