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Release Info: JIM FRENCH WITH DIAMANDA GALAS AND HENRY KAISER-IF LOOKS COULD KILL, LP, 1979, USA
No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you and this really is that impossible to find first Diamanda Galas improv recording that's been tucked away on the B side of this obscure debut LP by Jim French and that you've always heard about but never thought you'd actually get to listen to. The powerhouse avant vocal terror that is Ms. Galas would probably prefer that you continued not to though, as she's on record savaging this recording and bitterly mocking Henry Kaiser for cajoling her into joining into this improv freakout when she was sick with a serious cold. I do believe she even referred to the results as a piss-take. Well, if that's the case you might want to develop a taste for Ms. Galas' golden showers, as this is every bit the twisted bloodletting and lesson into the most extreme ranges of advanced vocal technique you'd been hoping for and all the more fascinating for being able to hear the mistress of the dark unencumbered by the nocturnal shrouding of her own music and in wild dialogues with Jim French's brittle wheedlings and left field wind instrument frivolity and Kaiser's spidery post-Derek Bailey scrabble.That melee is hardly the only reason to afford this album a space in your life though. French's solo A side of the disc is a whole other kettle 'o fish entirely and worth analyzing on its own terms, as he works his way through interpretations of "the classics". French's handling of his array of small wind instruments (Sopranino and soprano saxophones, recorders, pibcorns and panpipes) is nothing if not unique, with an approach that's at once satirical, salacious and cut with a lemony tart wit; his work here as both builder of medieval and renaissance instruments and outwardly bound improvisor with a evident sense of humor placing him on a roughly parallel path to that of German improvisor/luthier Hans Reichel.
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