As ever with Howl in the Typewriter you never know what you’re going to get. Like calypso tracks of yore, the songs are often about anything. Though there’s an eccentricity that hints towards darker, more brittle mental states throughout his work it’s fun, somehow…
It’s a remix album. Shall I stop there? Had enough already? More than that, a remix album done by a bloke you’ve probably not heard much about, remixing tracks that aren’t (and probably never will be) on Spotify or iTunes or whatever, moreover, a bloke who runs a truly underground concern dealing with way out sounds culled from the four corners of the British Isles. So remixes of originals you’re never likely to hear by a bloke you have barely heard of; a sort of squaring the circle, a ridiculous exercise if you consider a remix is something that brings new interpretations to commonplace, well known sonic artefacts. No matter. The beauty of music is that it can – if you so wish – have no strings attached. And if you like wading through the ephemera of someone’s psyche, then this is for you.
As ever with Howl in the Typewriter you never know what you’re going to get. Like calypso tracks of yore, the songs are often about anything. Though there’s a mindset that hints towards darker, more brittle mental states throughout his work, it’s fun, somehow…
We start with a fifteen minute smorgasbord known as Funky Freedom, originally composed by Cyril Bagels. Funky it is too, a sort of tripped out travelogue with plenty of interludes, interspersed with ridiculous interjections from all manner of instruments the sound is regularly moved around to face a blast of metal, folk or just plain daft comedy. Pissing in The Coffee (from the Melodramatic Monkey) is something else entirely: a blurting snarling thing replete with the maddest lyrics this side of Dr Zeuss. I’m not sure whether the vocals slag off mice or the sexual proclivities of small town England. Maybe both.
Following that, Gobble Fez is a very scary, claustrophobic thing indeed, a cautionary tale no less, and Cortex = Wabbly Rat the musical coda to the paranoid soliloquy we’ve sat through. Things calm down with The take on The Death of The Enlightenment Project’s Broadcast FAH, another long track (topping the opener by a good two minutes) which initially draws on that Germanic sound that Reichmann and Moebius and Plank perfected on Sky records. Then we’re deep into soundscape territory with field recordings, radio edits and sequenced drum patterns all thrown into the mix. Bedroom Andriessen shaking hands with Poundland Orbital… somehow the DIY feel of this track adds a lot of charm.
The Style Pigs’ Day-Glo Karate Chop is a tinny, Casio-laden squawk, again full of daft bits amidships, (a sheep and heavy breathing this time) whereas Howling Typewriters is a veritable symphony of typewriter samples. And some trippy noises. Seriously. Data’s Cat’s Quank gets the freaky treatment next, the track, spaning eleven minutes, has echoes of the Trans Europe Express compilations, coming on a bit like Coldcut at times. Which is totally fine. Then we get another take on Pissing in the Coffee (a remix of a remix no less) and we’re done
So, well, erm, in retrospect, very interesting Lord Dowdy. Very interesting indeed.