mardi 17 mai 2011

Diamanda Galas and John Paul Jones (The Sporting Life)

John Paul Jones and Diamanda Galás crumble the little gingerbread house of rock illusions with their collaborative album, The Sporting Life, detonating all the overplayed crap we’ve become accustomed to—the bland bass/drum rhythms, the singer hooting oooh baby baby, the guitar and its obligatory solo wheeze. The album opens the genre to an expanse where divisions between what is electronic and what is “natural” smear, where the instrument is only as good as its ability to scalp you.

John Paul Jones, once the bassist of Led Zeppelin, has accomplished so much musically it’s impossible to summarize. His bio takes you from his Motown recording days to his commissioned work for the Mondrian Quartet, from performing with Brian Eno to producing the Butthole Surfers… It’s only appropriate that a man of his artistic stature should be the one to introduce Diamanda Galás to the rock audience and larger listenership she deserves. Since the mid-’80s, Diamanda Galás has created avant-garde performances and recordings with her three and a half octave vocal range that no one, once they experience it, can ignore. Her voice is huge, catastrophic and loving, terrifying and vengeful. She has dedicated a good part of her work over the years to her three-part Death Requiem Plague Mass for people with AIDS, which she has performed extensively, including at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York, at the 1990 Olympic Festival in Barcelona, and the Festival de Colline in Italy, where members of the Italian government denounced her for blasphemy against the Roman Catholic Church. In 1992 she released The Singer, an album of spirituals and blues songs sung in her transformative, blood-filled style.

The searing songs of The Sporting Life are a testament to the professionalism and integrity of the duo. Their authority does not outweigh the album. Along with Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello and the Attractions) on drums, Diamanda Galás unleashes her beautiful volcano voice, and John Paul Jones masterfully sculpts the atmosphere around her.

source: BOMB 49/Fall 1994

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