Hifiklub & Mike Cooper – ‘Aran Stories’, [Ruptured Records]

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My current writing and posting of a couple of found poems so far come from John Millington Synge’s book The Aran Islands, published in 1907.

This itself was a complete find after listening to the new album Aran Stories by Hifiklub and Mike Cooper, a pairing of the French instrumental band – who I have not heard before – and the English guitarist Mike Cooper who, like many, I knew from his The Machine Gun Co. with Mike Copper days [1972], but also and more pertinently from his more recent Radio Paradise: Mike Cooper in Beirut [around 2012] where his playing of electric lap steel with electronic manipulations is more akin to the guitar work in this latest release. An expansive example of such on Aran Stories – not just from Cooper of course – are the layers of screeching and wah-wah sounds on first track Naked Bridges at its start, with a killer bass line, which is then accompanied by Cooper singing cut-up texts from The Aran Islands. It has an echo of Jim Morrison and The Doors in their more jammed performances, Morrison in incantation mode.

The band and Cooper’s album is more closely a musical reading of Robert J. Flaherty’s silent film Man of Aran, which I have never seen, so it is the Synge text that I could find and read and start to manipulate.

A calmer [at the beginning], ambient-esque album take on the Synge text with Cooper’s cut-up renditions is third track Geography. Fourth Gaelic Falling is a psychedelic, spacey backdrop to a delivery of text I more readily recognise from my reading so far. It is an excellent interpretive album.

Perhaps it is important to stress that Cooper’s excised text consists of more phrases and thus reflects the original’s description compared with my searches for quite separate/independent meanings.

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