Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Arthur Doyle - 'Plays and Sings from the Songbook Volume One' (Audible Hiss)

This is where Doyle crosses from the realm of jazz into proper 'outsider' music, if such a genre exists. The Songbook was composed while Doyle was in 'the clink', and thus each of these seven compositions capture an artist truly drawn into himself. This was released on an appropriate label because the hiss is prevalent, sounding like it was recorded mostly on a dictaphone. I wouldn't e surprised if this was recorded in jail somehow, though the credits are nonexistent beyond titles. When he sings, it's erratic, slurry and wet; a stereotypical 'old jazz dude' voice if there ever was one. The opening cut 'Ozy Lady Dozy Lady' announced how uncompromising the Songbook is going to be, being eight and a half minutes of a repeating vocal line over minimal piano plinks, with the occasional foray into narrative, maybe. It's magical and deranged, but then again, I eat up stuff like this. But 'Ozy Lady Dozy Lady' might be the most accessible track here; things only get more damaged as the album proceeds.  'Yo Yoo > Yo Yoo' takes us into sax territory, with it's jalopy-like bleating; 'Olca Cola in Angola' is over ten minutes of starts and stops, sax and voice alternating like a draft that can never quite get completed. It's repetition is its charm, but this is not an easy time. It's a work of obsession, a document of the inside of a brain, and for this I'm grateful. I rarely listen to this, but there's a value in releasing 9 minutes of flute meanderings, which to anyone else would be a demo of a demo of a demo. The thing is, these are fairly simplistic compositions, so the only strangeness is really in the presentation - an unedited sketchbook of ideas which don't really make sense in this presentation. If you're interested in the creative process in general, there's a lot of joy to find here. I don't think a second volume of this ever materialised, which is a shame, though I don't know who would be buying it (and I think I got this for 50 cents somewhere).

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