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Monday, 4 May 2009

Alva - 'Fair-Haired Guillotine' (Avant)

Source: Bought from Paul's in the late 90's for (I think) around $20, new (Japanese import)

Some records exist outside of any conceivable time-space continuum and Alva's two compact discs are as magnificent as a 7-11 Slurpee overturned on the saddle of a racehorse. Those weirdo Czech Tom and Jerry cartoons might have done better with Fair-Haired Guillotine's bouncier moments insteada whatever freejazz they had. But it's not all animated: there's some amateurish guitar strum, tin whistle and church organ that would creep out any impressionable tyke. These gals could be compared to any number of precedents: LAFMS, Futura records, Ralph label, Very Good Records -- but the comparison would be imperfect. Cause Alva's music is more baroque, more constructed, and recorded with more panĂ¢che than most others. For tracks as simply constructed as this - the instruments are clear, there are few mysteries as to what is generating the sounds - there is a world of strangeness in every second. They weren't the first band to paint a sky of looped mumbled vocals, renaissance violin, and melting honkytonk fumes but this is both hi-brow and no-brow at the same time. Obviously these ladies made quite an impression on me so maybe I've put them on some sort of pedestal, but the sounds can speak for themselves.

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