Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Dalis Car 'The Waking Hour' (1984)

^A painting by Max Parrish, whose 'Daybreak' is the album's cover-art

A deeply unusual and beguiling one-off here (not me, the album). The delectable Peter Murphy of Bauhaus and multi-instrumentalist Mick Karn (ex-Japan) came together for this totally unique celebration of Middle Eastern modes and Paganistic themes; conjured almost entirely by complex, interwoven fretless bass and synth lines. With a number of exceptions, the fretless bass' sound can seem dated as it instantly recalls an era. But similar to the iconic and fluid basstones featured on Kate Bush albums from the period, it just feeds into the strangeness and in the case of Dalis Car, sets the scene.

Murphy was surely one of the classic post-Bowie New Wave singers, bold and brazen. Karn brings the dark, synth-based ruminations of Japan to the project. The programmed drums are barely noticeable and rendered almost superfluous beneath the album's mirage. This is far from simply Bauhaus meets Japan - it carves out a mystical exoticism, at a time when many artists of renown (Byrne, Gabriel, Eno etc) had recently succeeded in bringing the alien rhythms of various 'world'/ethnic musics into synthetic Western pop.

Dalis Car is pretty left of field however, being unsettlingly hypnotic and instrumentally upside-down. The minimalist approach to the compositions is fleshed out by excellent production and timely touches of distant guitar and woodwind. If you're a fan of the cold sounds of Talking Heads' Fear of Music, Bowie's Lodger, or the gothic New Age-isms of Dead Can Dance in general you can't afford to miss out on this.
BEWARE 'Cornwall Stone'.

the judgement is the mirror
1985 interview with Karn and Murphy

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