dead man ray|
may 28th 2001
heavenhotel - virgin/labels
karel de backer
wouter van belle
|contributing artists: ivan cotton, sigrid van rosendaal|
It's been promised to us since the day Trap came out: a collection of outtakes from the Trap sessions. A collection, because abandon all hope to a coherent piece of work here.|
Things start off with the band blowing away all expectations. 'Smallband' is a funny little brass-track by Sigrid van Rosendaal in the finest of cheesy traditions. Nót very Dead Man Ray.
Describing twenty second tracks like 'Eratz' would make this review three times as long (and boring) than it is already, so I won't. Just think of them as tiny graphical, colourful abstract pieces of cement to glue the ep together.
'Emotional tourism' is another extremely bizarre track: Dead Man Ray in an extremely inert, jazzy mood. It's only until track n°4, 'Cerchy', that Dead Man Ray decides to sound a bit like you could expect them to. But just a bit.
'Killywatch' is no joke. It IS a cover from the Cousins' 1960 original. While the poppy surf/country original still shines through, Dead Man Ray have added their trashy twist to it. And thank heavens or that.
The scariest moment comes from 'Finar', a compilation of disturbing, abstract sounds and dialogue bits from At the drop of a Hat.
'Blind Surfer' has been killing Rudy's throat for the past year on stage with his primitive screamings, and this studio version has the same spine-chilling sound bursts. Very nice.
Fast forward to 'Kind+Gezin', where Daan shows a rather drastic way of shocking little infants. I bursted into tears of laughter when I heard it for the first time. 'Beer' (short for 'A bar with no beer', covered from G. Parsons and Bobbejaan Schoepen) only adds to the confusion. 'Noisette' is one of my favourite moments; despite being only 35 seconds long, it contains a teriffic sample which could easely lasted a few more minutes.
Finally, 'End' is a dreamy, soundtrack-style, dramatic but beautiful track- Dead Man Ray like you've never heard them before.
So in all, this is a collection of trashy melodies, a refined sense of humour, and the tendency to break expectations. Just like DAAU's latest Life Transmission album, Dead Man Ray sound familiar, precisely because they don't.
...But how does Marginal rate next to Berchem or Trap I hear you ask?
Well that's a though one to answer. It stands next to them in the same way My Sister=My Clock stands next to Worst Case Scenario and In a Bar under the sea. It's a wonderful addition which you'll play as often as the albums, but in terms of sheer brilliance, Marginal has little chance of ever being considered a miletone in music history. For that it is probably too bizarre, sometimes too incomprehensive and too downright confusing. But that's also why I love it, and why Dead Man Ray keeps on fascinating me.