(Ernest Jenning Record Co/Khannibalism)
Now here’s something unexpected. Those familiar with Laurie Anderson’s work, Mister Heartbreak, will recognise the unmistakeable, lugubrious tones of the late Beat Generation author. It’s one of the most seductive voices on record with a very distinctive musicality about it.
Shortly before his death in 1997 Burroughs read some of the most outrageous and also outrageously hilarious sections of his most famous novel, Naked Lunch, for the record producer Hal Wilner who then got musicians including guitarist Bill Frisell and many of his associates – keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, violist Eyvind Kang, bassist Tony Sher, drummer Kenny Wollesen, violinist Jenny Scheinman, cellist Hank Roberts – to add some accompaniments.
Wilner abandoned the project and the recordings lay unused, but a meeting with Canadian punk/soul frontman King Khan inspired Wilner to revive it. With Khan and vocalist/composer M Lamar on board the project was expanded and completed.
What we get is an X-rated selection of Burroughs against suitably off-the-wall musical settings which create a sound picture completely in keeping with the super-real and surreal grotesqueries and depravities which Burroughs somehow turned into an uncomfortably beautiful art.
Not for the squeamish – but you had probably guessed that.
Available in CD and LP formats.
Categories: CD review