One of the few self imposed rules I actually stick to is never to watch a film on a plane. Sitting on a long haul flight (and hauls don’t get much longer than Cartagena to London via Bogota and Madrid), is the perfect opportunity to read a book and listen to music. And this time I listened to the remarkable new album by the perverse yet genuine genius who is Kip Hanrahan.
The are few artists currently making music who inspire me to buy their new offering the minute you discover it exists, but Kip is certainly one of them, and you have to put in the effort to discover him as he is willfully obscure. I call him an artist because he’s not obviously a musician, he doesn’t play on his own records much,and his role is more like a kind of musical film producer/director, an auter who writes and oversees and inspires some of the most remarkable music on the planet.
A New Yorker of Eastern European stock he has spent the last 30 years creating a unique hybrid of layered latin percussion, jazz, rock, poetry, spoken word and dreamy incantations in a variety of languages, working with a cast of fabulous players, to create a series of hypnotic records which once you have been entranced by them, you have to have more. In fact I have to have them all, immediately, every time he brings out a new record on his own American Clave label I just have to get it. There’s something like 29 in my collection at the last count.
This is not music you will hear on the radio, even on my show, as it is self-indulgent, wayward, impenetrable, sometimes infuriating and I’d probably get sacked after about 30 seconds. But it can also be beautiful, beguiling, challenging and just so unlike anything else that you know you are listening to a special talent.
His albums always have splendidly preposterous titles like: Days and Nights of Blue Luck Inverted or All Roads Are Made Of The Flesh. The latest is At Home In Anger Which Could Also Be Called Imperfect, Happily. Actually it called also be called a masterpiece, his most accesible record for a long time (it actually has some songs on it) and his most beautiful and it helped me arrive home anything but angry. - Robert Elms