CD Baroque Primitiva [Digipak] * (CD 7041786),
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Baroque Primitiva [Digipak] *

  • 1. Dinner Party, The
    2. Mussolini's Exit
    3. Humor Police
    4. You Only Live Twice
    5. Face To Face With a Couple Axes
    6. Well Knows Stranger
    7. Naturally Absolute
    8. Funny Thing is...
    9. 3 Dead Girls
    10. Like That Madri Gal
    11. God Only Be Without You
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 046

  • Credits
    ProducerAlvarius B.
    EngineerRandall Dunn; Scott Colburn

    Personnel: Alvarius B. (vocals, guitar, piano, organ).
    Arranger: Alvarius B.
    Alvarius B. is the alter ego of Alan Bishop, formerly of the Sun City Girls. Baroque Primitiva is his sixth album under this moniker, and the first in quite a while (by most estimates since the 1990s anyway). Unlike his earlier solo recordings, Baroque Primitiva doesn't follow the same cut-up slash that the earlier ones did; the ones that reflected more of the the earlier Sun City Girls at their most mischievous, so this may come as a bit of a shock to longtime fans. These 11 selections, if anything, follow a much more linear path and pick up in their own way, where the SCGs final Funeral Mariachi album did. While Eyvind Kang appears on three cuts playing piano, viola, and even bass, drums, and electric guitars, the majority of this set was recorded by Bishop himself, playing guitar, organ, piano, bass, voices, etc. Initially released by Poon Village in a ridiculously limited edition as an LP; it's been reissued as a gorgeously packaged compact disc. Baroque Primitiva flies in the face of Alvarius B.'s earlier recordings in many mays, not the least of which is a cleaner production style, unlike the sparsely arranged, loosely recorded numbers of old that might have been confused with outtakes by Jandek (which doesn't mean Alvarius B. has forsaken the lo-fi aesthetic; far from it. Baroque Primitiva contains songs that breeze through different genres nearly seamlessly. They range from fractured samba ("The Dinner Party") and perverse, childlike nursery rhymes "("Mussolini's Birthday"), to Spaghetti Western-style desert country ("Face to Face with a Couple of Axes"), psychedelic pop ("Naturally Absolute"), and reverb-laden folk soundscapes ("3 Dead Girls"). The album's closer is an absolutely stunning, twisted -- and utterly inspired -- reconceptualization of Brian "Smiley" Wilson's "God Only Knows" (titled here as "God Only Be Without You") complete with East Indian and Cambodian modalities worked inside its dreamy melody, creating an alternate set of harmonics. No matter which side of the Alvarius B. or Sun City Girls spectrum you come from, or even where you stand on contemporary singer/songwriters, Baroque Primitiva is an album that will get under your skin, come back to haunt -- and nibble at -- you, and seduce you with its mysterious beauty, wry humor, expert songwriting, and simple yet seductive production. ~ Thom Jurek

  • Critic Reviews
    The Wire (p.52) - "Bishop's spartan arrangements for guitar, bass and keyboards render these songs all the more emotively raw and surprisingly beautiful."
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