|Mike Cooper — Tropical Gothic (Oct. 5, 2018)|
Mike Cooper — Tropical Gothic (Oct. 5, 2018)✹ Virtuoso British guitarist who is best known for his folk~blues styles but avidly experiments with electronic, world, and avant~garde music. He plays lap steel guitar and sings, he is an improviser and composer, song~maker, a visual and installation artist; film and video maker and radio arts producer.
Born: August 24, 1942 in Reading, Berkshire, England
Location: Great Britain
Genre: avant~garde, electronic, experimental, exotica
Styles: Proto~Punk, Singer~Songwriter, Rock & Roll, Acoustic Blues, Avant~Garde Jazz, Blues Revival, Folk~Blues, Improvisation, Sound Sculpture, Structured Improvisation
Album release: October 5, 2018
Record Label: Discrepant
1. The Pit 0:48
2. Mask of Flesh 2:17
3. By the River 1:30
4. Samurai 1:42
5. Shindo’s Blues 2:50
6. La’ap Blues 2:16
7. Running Naked 3:18
8. Onibaba 4:07
9. Legong/Gods of Bali 17:57
℗ 2018 Discrepant
✹ Mastered by Rashad Becker
✹ Artwork by Evan Crankshaw
✹ Mike Cooper / lap steel guitar, electronics, voice, video editing
✹ Clive Bell / shakuhachi, flutes, accordion
✹ Sylvia Hallett / violin, sarangi, accordion
✹ “The icon of post~everything music” — Lawrence English (::Room40::)
✹ “He calls for the listener before the musician and music for him is not a grand statement: it channels a diffused mood, not made just of sounds but of visions, incidental noises, colours, stories, traditions, lyrics, images in motion.” — Daniela Cascella in En Abime~Listening, Reading,Writing.
–••• Mike Cooper presents his new Tropical Gothic project alongside multi~instrumentalists Clive Bell and Sylvia Hallett, followed by a set of musically deconstructed protest songs. Tropical Gothic examines Gothic within a specific geographical area of ‘the South’… as well as transnational movements of the Gothic… Tropical Gothic includes, but is by no means limited to, a reflection on a region where European colonial powers fought intensively against indigenous populations and against each other for control of land and resources. Gothic — relating to a style of fiction characterized by the use of desolate or remote settings and macabre, mysterious, or violent incidents.
–••• “TROPICAL GOTHIC is inspired in particular by my reading of the films — Onibaba, by Kaneto Shindo and Legong~Dance of The Virgin, one of the last silent films and shot on two colour strip film, by Henry De La Falaise in 1933 in Bali. I would also include F.W.Murnau’s Tabu (1931) and W.S.Van Dyke’s White Shadows In The South Seas (1928)
–••• The title „Tropical Gothic“ first came up as shared black and white photographs, mostly of palm trees, on facebook, initiated by my friend Lawrence English. Pursuing Tropical Gothic on~line a collection of short stories came up that included The Woman Who Had Two Navels And Tales Of The Tropical Gothic by the Filipino writer Nick Joaquin.
–••• Following more links I came across a blog, „Tropical Gothic“ from Daniel Sa where he writes — „Establishing the concept of Tropical Gothic as a critical term to investigate specific cultural traditions of the supernatural and the strange in the warmer parts of the globe is not an easy task. At first glance the expression itself seems to be rather contradictory; an oxymoron that combines the opposing ideas of ‘solar’ and ‘gloom’ in one concept. Academics that do not work in the field of Gothic Studies question the value of applying the Gothic — a literary and critical term originated in Britain — to the investigation of texts from other traditions.“ He goes on to say that some argue that „..the category of Magic Realism already covers the tradition of the supernatural and the strange.“
–••• Others that I would consider to be „Tropical Gothicists“ would be the writers Pierre Loti, Robert Louise Stevenson, Greg Dening, Louis Becke, Frederick O’Brien (author of White Shadows In The South Seas); Lefkadio Hearn and William Shakespeare (The Tempest) et al.
–••• Some contemporary film makers that I also consider to be „Tropical Gothic“ are Lav Diaz, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Pedro Costa, Khavn De La Cruz and Kaneto Shindo. These names, perhaps not widely known, can easily be found on~line. My own videos are influenced by all of these directors in one way or another.
–••• Lav Diaz is a Filipino independent film maker known for his very long, slow films. Apichatpong’s films combine the spirit world, mythology and politics of Thailand. Pedro Costa, although not strictly tropical being from Portugal, has for a number of years concerned himself with the Cabo Verdian (Cape Verde Islands) diaspora in Lisbon. Khavn De La Cruz is a flamboyant director who’s film Mondomanila is both bizarre and gothic.
–••• Three of my own „Tropical Gothic“ videos were shot in Hong Kong and on the island of Pulau Ubin, a small island between Singapore and Malaysia (see my web site for more information on those).“
✹ Since 2016 we’ve been blessed with Mike Cooper in our catalog. The first installment was “New Kiribati”, revisiting a self~released 1999 CDR in which Mike Cooper was experimenting with a lap steel, electronics, prepared guitar and live recordings, creating what he called “Ambient Exotica Soundscapes”. In the following year, “Reluctant Swimmer” showed an enigmatic, exotic and elegant adventure into Mike’s 1920s National tri~plate lap steel guitar and his Vietnamese electric lap steel. Two pieces, two sides, each ending with beautiful interpretations of some Mike’s favourite songs, „Movies Is Magic“ by Van Dyke Parks and Fred Neil’s „Dolphins“.
✹ 2018 and it’s time for some new discoveries into Mike Cooper’s limitless exploration in his collection of guitars. The title itself, “Tropical Gothic” references Cooper’s beloved areas of ‘the South’ with a Gothic, dark, remote interplay... ‘’Tropical Gothic includes, but is by no means limited to, a reflection on a region where European colonial powers fought intensively against indigenous populations and against each other for control of land and resources.’’
✹ In each side Mike Cooper studies different approaches to his method of uniting guitar and field recordings into a constant stream of sound, where he delivers chaos and melody — not necessarily in that order. Side A is composed of shorter pieces. Each of them offers a myriad of images and sensations, between the enigmatic and terror (“The Pit”), joy, happiness and freedom (“Running Naked”) or pure contemplation (“Onibaba”).
✹ “Onibaba” runs as a fitting introduction to Side B and its 18th minute magical piece “Lelong & Gods Of Bali”. A mix of ambient exotica music, silent film soundtrack and distorted rhythms that dance around Mike’s guitar. It keeps reinventing and transforming itself throughout those eighteen minutes, summing up the dexterity and muscle of Mike Cooper’s music of the last two decades.
Boomkat Product Review:
–••• At 76 years old, you’d think virtuoso guitarist Mike Cooper would rest on his laurels a little, having continuously mined a seemingly bottomless well of inspiration for almost seven decades, spanning a countless number of recordings feeding his insatiable appetite for experimentation. For his latest album ‘Tropical Gothic’, however, he takes another sharp turn into more abstract terrain with a dark, brooding take on Exotika and Pacific music, sounding something like Jan Jelinek’s much loved Loop~Finding Jazz Records as rendered by Badalamenti and Lynch, before suddenly veering off into a tropical breeze...
–••• Making use of his usual lap steel guitar, sampler and FX, Cooper provides a radical inversion of his style, switching from Pacific to Atlantic ocean to scouting out a looming deep south darkness lurking behind his usually balmy lap steel slide guitar blues. The title itself, “Tropical Gothic” references Cooper’s beloved areas of ‘the South’ with a Gothic, dark, remote interplay.
–••• On each side Cooper studies different approaches to his method of weaving guitar and field recordings into a constant stream of sound, where he delivers chaos and melody — not necessarily in that order. Side A is composed of shorter pieces. Each of them offers a myriad of images and sensations, between the enigmatic and terror (“The Pit”), joy, happiness and freedom (“Running Naked”) or pure contemplation (“Onibaba”).
–••• “Onibaba” runs as a fitting introduction to Side B and its 18 minute magical piece “Lelong & Gods Of Bali”. A mix of ambient exotica, silent film soundtrack and distorted rhythms that dance around Mike’s guitar. It keeps reinventing and transforming itself throughout those eighteen minutes, summing up the dexterity and muscle of Mike Cooper’s music of the last two decades.
–••• Incredible music from a genuine unsung hero; yungers out there resting on yr laurels — take note.
|Mike Cooper — Tropical Gothic (Oct. 5, 2018)|
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