Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Artist: JARBOE (@)
Title: The Men Album
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Atavistic
Rated: *****

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Even if you are a rookie and you don't know that much about
the alternative scene of the last twenty years, I think that you heard the name of the Swans. If you missed they early works and beautiful tracks like "Hanging" or "Greed" maybe you had the chance to check their latest releases where the acustic guitar took the place of the hammering guitars. Anyway... Jarboe was a Swans member and even if she wasn't with them since day one, she soon became an important part of the crew. It's years that Swans split but Jarboe never ceased to create her own vision of music, made of spiritualism, mysticism, everyday life and thousand of influences. Her life is an interesting one and since her early youth she's been in contact with inusual stuff (both her parents were F.B.I. agents). Her new double album is titled THE MEN ALBUM and it took six years to be finished. The two CDs are divided into "guitars" and "rhythms" and the twenty tracks see an incredible amount of collaborators. Do you want some names? Here they are: Blixa Bargeld (Einsterzende Neubauten, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), Alan Sparhawk (Low), Iva Davies (Icehouse, Master & Commander soundtrack), Jim Thirlwell (Foetus), Edward Kaspel (Legendary Pink Dots), Paz Lenchantin (Zwan, RTX), David Torn (David Bowie, David Sylvian), Chris Connelly (Revolting Cocks, Ministry, Pigface), David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, The Jazz Butcher), Percy Howard (Bill Laswell, Meridiem), Steve Von Till (Neurosis), Joseph Budenholzer (Current 93, Lydia Lunch), Mika Vainio (PanSonic, Bjork) and many others. Wow, at this point it isn't a surprise if it took her six years to record this album, is it? Listening to the twenty tracks I was surprised to check how the guests haven't been invasive about the song writing. You know, the track where you find Jim Thirwell doesn't sound like a Foetus song or "Feral Blixa" doesn't sound exactly like Einsturzende Neubauten (even if all the track is based on Blixa's guitar and on hisses produced by the duo). So, we have two different CDs where the first one is mostly based on guitar sounds: the opening "This is life" and the final part of "Feral" are distorted and rhythmic while the others are acustic ballads. The second CD is different as it is based on different musical styles but all linked by a rhythmic urge that moves its steps through the oriental dub of "Angel David", the bass distortion of "Bass force / Angel Jim" which seems a sort of "Angel David"'s reprise which turns into a spanish vertigo helped by Foetus, Paz Lenchantin and William Faith. The following "Torn kiss" is a sensual electronic short track that anticipate the jazzy eight minutes of "Penance". Not all the tracks have a training rhythm but if you think about the rhythm of a pulsing heart, well, at this point you can say that they are based on rhythm. Eclectic and personal, Jarboe succeeded into the difficult art of seducing her audience.


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