Clockwork Orchestra — A Fish for a Heart
((Not on label) Soft Bodies Records, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-12-26Right off the bat, the name Clockwork Orchestra makes me think of the phrase a clockwork orange, something ordinary in appearance but robotic in action. I’m not sure if this really applies here, but A Fish for a Heart, the second release for Paul Mangan aka Clockwork Orchestra, is an incredibly bizarre collection of twelve quirky songs. The opening song, “Generator Girls,” takes you back to the 80s and the Young Marble Giants’ Colossal Youth with its drums, cheesy organ, electronics, and guttural vocals. The music is edgy and mechanical with some intelligent yet off the wall lyrics: “On a bed of nails, cautionary tales are breaking my train of thought.” This album is a complete change of pace from anything being released today. A Fish for a Heart is an infectiously listenable album despite Paul’s bedroom/home studio approach. Each song stands on its own, exhibiting various influences, be it the steam punk/cabaret style of “Puddle Fishing” or the Human League’s “Dance Hall Days” on “Percy.” The childlike simplicity of “Squeak’s Intervention” also evokes comparison to Grandpa Egg on this side of the pond. Other points of reference would be Morgan Fisher’s Hybrid Kids and the French band Ptôse. A thoroughly enjoyable mixed bag of engrossing and at times utterly deranged songs. A Fish for a Heart is a welcome release likely to beguile those of us with a penchant for adventurous music.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more