"Bardo Hotel Soundtrack"
1. Hurry up and Wait (Flying Sequence)
2. Effervescing in the Nether Sphere
3. Soup du Jour
4. Flying Again
5. Triptych
6. I'm Real Stupid
7. Airport Blues

A "Road Movie Of The Mind" by the mythical band which so successfully reformed to put out the superb Cabin In The Sky album in 2004. One year later, Tuxedomoon traveled back to San Francisco (where the band was formed in the late '70s) in order to start writing material for their next album. But the atmosphere of the place had unexpected effects on them, and drove them to record a series of "spontaneous compositions" (as Mingus would have put it) instead, which soon formed the basis of this side project, intended to be the soundtrack for a film the band is currently shooting with Greek visual artist George Kakanakis. Consisting of inspired instrumentals interspersed with various vignettes and found sounds, the album is being released under the Made To Measure imprint, Crammed's legendary instrumental/soundtrack series from the 80s/90s, which is symbolically being resurrected just for this occasion.

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Tuxedomoon are whores.

They have whored their way through a century or more of music: from atonality to the various eras of jazz, electronics, beat pop, punk, minimalism, techno and more strands of world music than I or the legal advisers of the originators could identify in front of a judge.

What their whoredom produced, however, is some of the most dazzling music this critic has ever heard. And this soundtrack, to a film based on Brion Gysin’s novel ‘The Bardo Hotel’, set in the Paris hotel where he and William Burroughs invented the radical cut-up/fold-in technique, is one of the most luminously beautiful recordings Tuxedomoon have ever produced.

Crazily, the recording that keeps coming back to my mind in comparison is Miles Davis’s mesmeric ‘In a Silent Way’. ‘Bardo Hotel’ is shot through with cut-up-like collages of speech and found sources, but, intentionally or not, the drifting sonorities here keep dragging me back to ‘Shhhh/Peaceful’ and ‘In a Silent Way/It’s About That Time’. (We might also invoke the saetas of ‘Sketches of Spain’ while we’re at it.) Trumpeter Luc van Lieshout is definitely the star here, although saxophonist Steven Brown shows his mettle; as do the cicadas (I just love records with cicadas on them). Bassist Peter Principle is the anchor, and Blaine Reininger as ever revels in his camp roma violin. It’s big, eerie, operatic, music filmed in la nuit americaine, stuffed with strange weather, and one of the most magical records Tuxedomoon ever made.

John Gill.

John Gill was music and books editor at Time Out and has been writing about music for The Times, Sounds, Vox and Smash Hits. He published a novel, Hype!, and a book entitled Queer Noises (Male and Female Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Music).


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