ALAK: "Clarinettis Qoonotations: Too Many Notes."
fucking preternatural and the golden weave of g-nashing teeth


ALAK's “Clarinettis Qoonotations: Too Many Notes.” fucking preternatural and golden weave of g-nashing teeth is as sonically strange as its title. The project's the brainchild of California-based songwriter Jocelyn Noir whose material clearly reveals the composer's propensity for surrealistic songcraft. Throughout this arresting collection, saxophone, flute, clarinet, keyboards, electric guitar, and percussion instruments cohere into eccentric arrangements and psychedelic compositional structures, with all of it augmented by Noir's softly chirping and occasionally demonic vocals. Listening to the release is like visiting a candy store, with every piece offering a rush of multi-coloured delights and unpredictable flavours. The thirteen songs include everything from an overture of muffled horn blasts (“Alas, runners.”) and electric guitar vignette (“Tragos Ode”) to a viral, harpsichord-laced concoction (“Juniper the Arrowss”) and bright disco-pop (“Crystal Power Attack”). “Key Drum Catawba” is a frenetic Molotov cocktail of warped vocal babble and diseased carousel whirligig, while the instrumental “Tha Ginseng Jissup” serenades the listener with a sing-song keyboard melody during a jaunty gallop in the Far East. “Wooleathe Mneathe” might superficially sound like a conventional folk song but its off-kilter vocal melodic lines and tempo changes render it odd and unsettling. As it's done before, Kaleidoscope presents its release in arresting manner by packaging the CD in a seven-inch sleeve and accompanying the disc with a couple of paper items. Exposing oneself to ALAK's black cauldron for forty-two minutes proves to be a more than satisfying proposition.

June 2009