Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mick Karn - Bestial Cluster

His best effort sees Karn team up with David Torn (and Jansen/Barbieri). Better production and excellent musicianship combined for the awesome title track and pieces -- such as "Saday Maday" -- that showcase his frenetic wonder and a Chilean backing vocal. But Karn can only deliver a half-decent record, with the murky "Bones of Mud" concluding. - by Kelvin Hayes, AMG

Mick Karn was born on the island of Cyprus, with the music/culture of Egypt, Israel, Syria, and Turkey all around him. At a young age he moved to London, later forming the band "Japan" with his school chum David Sylvian. Mick plays bassoon, clarinet, keyboards, and other instruments on his recordings, but in the context of Japan he held down the low notes. Early on, he pulled the frets out of his bass, and his trademark fretless playing quickly developed. In 1983, the band dissolved, leaving Karn with a unique style and plenty of musical inspiration. His studio work with other musicians such as Midge Ure and Joan Armatrading is pretty interesting, and is worth investigating. Check out "Dalis Car" (with former Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy) for evidence of surreal atmospheric pop; take note of the fact the Mick plays ALL the instruments on this CD. The atmospheric multicultural grooves on Bestial Cluster are vidence of his maturing musicianship and compositional abilities. It is perhaps his most musically complex CD to date, and he has said it was among his most challenging endeavors. You will frequently find him collaborating with guitarist/loopist David Torn. Their complimentary musical explorations are always interesting (listen to "Polytown" for a good starting point). David Torn once described Mick Karn by saying "It's as if Bootsy was Moroccan." Hard to top that :) Torn lends some tasty guitar work to this effort, and it's well worth finding a copy. Take a listen to this CD and be entranced by an intoxicating tapestry of sounds. - John Hendow,

Artist: Mick Karn
Album: Bestial Cluster
Year: 1992

Label: CMP Records (1993)
Runtime: 45:04

1.  Bestial Cluster (Mick Karn) 4:10
2.  Back In The Beginning (Mick Karn) 5:10
3.  Beard In The Letterbox (Mick Karn/David Torn) 7:05
4.  The Drowning Dream (Mick Karn/David Torn) 5:06
5.  The Sad Velvet Breath Of Summer And Winter (Mick Karn) 5:46
6.  Saday, Maday (Mick Karn/David Torn) 6:28
7.  Liver And Lungs (Mick Karn) 5:40
8.  Bones Of Mud (Mick Karn) 5:35

Mick Karn (Vocals, Bass Guitar, Bass Clarinet, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Keyboards, Percussion, Programming)
David Torn (Guitar, Slide Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Harmonica, Keyboards, Voice, Percussion)
Steve Jansen (Drums, Dumbek, Congas)
Richard Barbieri (Keyboard Bits, Sounds)
Joachim Kühn (Keyboards) - 1,2,5
David Liebman (Soprano Saxophone) - 3,6,7
Richie Stevens (Samples) - 3
Steve Gorn (Flutes) - 5,8
Glen Velez (Frame Drums, Percussion) - 5,8
Jürgen Kernbach (Bassoon) - 6
Walter Quintus (Violin) - 7
Mario Argandona (Vocals) - 2,6
Sabine Van Baaren (Backing Vocals) - 2



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