Music Reviews

Artist: Edward Ka-Spel (@)
Title: Chyekk, China Doll
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
With Edward Ka-Spel at the wheel, you know that you're in for an interesting ride. However, when you throw Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound into the mix, you know that there is no hope for normalcy. If you have even a passing acquaintance with Ka-Spel or Legendary Pink Dots, you already have an idea of what you're in for, and this album does not disappoint.

The first thing you notice is the structure of the album, with short interlude music separating the longer compositions. This reminded me of This Mortal Coil's Filigree and Shadow album that took a similar approach with similarly beautiful results. These short pieces kept the album connected while being quite nice in their own right. Some that stand out include 'Beautiful, Naked,' partly because of the dissonance between its almost jazzy feel and the dark lyrics that inhabit the song. We also see Lisa featured in two songs here (we get to experience both her Christening and her Resurrection). Who else would have the line 'Handel blew 'Messiah' on Kazoo!' ' you'll hear it in Lisa's Resurrection (although I still have a soft spot for her Separation). Many of these songs, I'm sure, have specific meaning, but the one behind Infinity Waltz is amusing enough to relate here. On the Legendary Pink Dots' website, they inform us that the new number of the beast is 834, relating a tale in which the devil appears to them as a result of a ritual gone awry:

"Hey Terrible One", he volunteered, "Why don't you choose a number more in keeping with your dark and terrible methods? After all, 666 reminds me of three little ducks swimming across a pond..."
The Beast was scowling. "Ducks?!" He scowled, but Stret bravely continued. "How about 888? Twist that on its side and you have infinity - multiplied by three! Yowza!"
A perverse smile spread across the Terrible One's face. He liked the idea.
"I like the idea," he cackled, "but it does not let you off the hook... how can I devise a fitting eternal punishment for you who caused me all this inconvenience?"
It was Patrick Paganini Q. who reluctantly provided the answer. "We shall make our music for you alone, Terrible One. We shall create... an Infinity Waltz!"
And so it goes. The number is 8, the time is 3/4. Endlessly. 8-3-4, 8-3-4, 8-3-4. Endlessly.
Will you spare a tear for us as we bid you farewell?

All this and it's a good song to boot. But the outstanding song on this is the instrumental 'Film of the Book (The Forgotten Version),' which is absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. In short this disc was as good as I expected it to be. If you like happy music with dark lyrics, this is definitely one to pick up. The disc weighs in at around 51 minutes.