Hoor-Paar-Kraat - The Mercurial Little Jitterbug (Goat Eater) by Keith Boyd 11.15.06
A flicker of sound plays on the periphery of your ear. What is it? A cat at the door? Rats in the walls? Or your fingers clawing at the roof of a coffin after you’ve been buried alive? Slowly the scratching builds a head of steam and in layering on top of itself becomes supremely claustrophobic. Sound Shaman Anthony Mangicapra is back with another exceptional release, “Mercurial Little Jitterbug”. So ladies and gents prepare yourselves for more sublime weirdness!
Unlike HPK’s last release, “Asha-Dasha” which started out, and continued on, in the realm of ritualized creative visionary will power Jitterbug seems to have one foot in the real world and the other in the Aethr. The field recording elements that underpin cuts like, “A Bottle of Light in the Hand” are a lovely backdrop to the atmospherics. It’s as though you’re walking down the street hearing typical and familiar noises while slowly everything is melting around you. Perhaps a fissure has worn through the fabric of here and now and while you’re still slightly aware of the cars going down the street and the insane lady on the corner’s birds chirping through the window, you’re slowly realizing that the air is bending and there are angels and devils flying overhead.
I love the care and crafting that goes into every Hoor-Paar-Kraat release.
Jitterbug comes in a heavy stock red-brown paper envelope with a tan wrap around band bolted through it. The cover image is a stamp of one of those impossibly complicated dance step diagrams and the inside reveals an earlyish image of Woody Allen. This is fitting as the album title comes from the Woody Allen film, “Anything Else” in which he describes Christina Ricci as being a “Mercurial Little Jitterbug”. I’m not sure I understand what inspiration Anthony Mangicapra finds in this film and I don’t think that it matters. The inspiration is there and informs this music in it’s own way with the results being excellent! The cover has a compulsively tactile quality to it and conveys the hand of an artist wanting things to be just right.
It’s hard to put a finger on what makes this disc work so well. The sounds within require the listener to do exactly that, listen. They crackle with an intense hyper-focus 3-D quality that can be quite scary at times. To call this simply music misses the mark a bit. It’s more a dose of sound experience that draws you in to its’ own wake and plays with your expectations. The spare sound events never coalesce into a huge movement or swell. They remain a bit aloof and isolated requiring ever deeper listening.
The going gets really weird on the track, “I Wonder Whether You Know What You’re Doing”. This piece is rich in the audio equivalent of what is known in cinema as deep focus. There pops and clanks and twangs close up to your ear and meanwhile in the background washes of intoning and chants ebb and flow. The whole disc is an unusual, unique and satisfying adventure.
In a world that seems to demand dumbed down, digestible and easily understood content, Hoor-Paar-Kraat stands apart. Mercurial Little Jitterbug is a mysterious, evocative and singular listen. Here’s to another brilliantly realized work of the visionary impulse!