C Joynes and Dead Rat Orchestra: Liv at the Dentist

Joynes-DRO

Leith Hill Recordings cassette and download

A warts and all souvenir of a fantastic show at the Dentist in Clapton, east London, earlier this year, collecting four tracks from C Joynes and Dead Rat Orchestra’s as-yet-unreleased ethnological folk fusion project. Mind you, I don’t think this is a recording of the gig itself – there’s no audience noise, for one thing – but rather a live session at the same venue, recorded before anyone turned up. But in any case, the show was pretty bloody fantastic (I wrote about it here) and this tape goes some way to capturing the grooviness of that evening. Cheeky artwork too.

The idea behind the Joynes/Rats collaboration is that the quartet reinvent various bits and bobs of folk music from around the world, gathered by Joynes in his wanderings, in their inimitable style. Their approach is cheerfully free from any worries about authenticity but also totally removed from any sense of pastiche. The result is music that’s, somehow, true to the wonderful traditions of the world music that it plunders while being completely (in)different to them.

So you’ve got bits of Mali, Egypt, Argentina, Indonesia, Bali, the USA and … er … lots more, all chucked into the sonic blender and served up anew. Opener Triennale is marvellously hypnotic, Dan Merrill’s violin echoing Joynes’ Malian guitar line as a rattling wash of percussion drives the whole thing forward. Sang Kancil seems to be pitched somewhere between Oklahoma and Siam, all slide guitar and pots and pans gamelan (the latter pops up again for a particularly eccentric appearance on the short but raggedly sweet Tango Wire).

Best of all is Mali Sayjo, which switches abruptly from a folky jam to a beautifully lilting, wide-open lullaby. It’s an inspired collage, a scarecrow of a song, but is almost indescribably gorgeous, with a twinned guitar and violin line marking out a simple and melancholy tune as the metallic, atonal rings of a Japanese dulcimer curl around in wiry syncopation.

Wonderful stuff – but when’s the full record coming out?

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Get it here.

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