Exposé Online banner

The Spanish Donkey — Raoul
(RareNoise RNR054, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2015-06-03

Raoul Cover art

Raoul and his donkey walk along a dusty road under the searing Spanish sun. Raoul thinks he’s the boss — after all, he’s the human, and the donkey is, well, just a donkey. But Raoul is very much mistaken. Everything he does has been planned by the donkey, who subtly manipulates the man into doing his bidding. But maybe they are things Raoul would have done anyway. Certainly the donkey believes himself to be the boss. Little does Raoul know that The Spanish Donkey is three entities in one, a hairy trinity of musical force, consisting of the Drummer (Mike Pride), the Saft (Jamie, keyboards), and the Holy Guitar (Joe Morris). The Donkey is not a cruel master, though its whims sometimes bring darkness. Morris assaults the senses with wailing feedback, cascading chaos, skittering bolts of furious noise warped beyond recognition by electronic devices. Pride exercises no restraint in his percussive assault, and any resemblance to patterns, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Saft occasionally tempts the listener with something that sounds like an organ, but pulls back from normalcy by turning it into a growling beast, roaring, growling, eschewing such trivialities as keys and chords. Three long tracks, the shortest just under 16 minutes, the longest over 30, make a strong entry into the field of free noise rock, though “rock” is used more as a default for “loud electric music” than a meaningful stylistic description. You could as easily say “free noise jazz,” which maybe wasn’t a thing before, but is now. In any case, Raoul gives us three talented musicians following their restless spirits take them whithersoever (which is a word I always wanted to use in a review) they will.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): The Spanish Donkey, Jamie Saft

More info

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

The Black Noodle Project - Play Again – Thick and chunky spacerock mannerisms assault unsuspecting onlookers before settling into the interactive stylistic conflagrations that expansive progressive rock is known for. This is classic...  (2007) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues