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.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more