9 Oct

Way back in 1965, The Lovin’ Spoonful had the courage to wear awkward hats and ask the musical question, “Did you ever have to make up your mind?” And a nation – nay, a world – responded, “Yes. Yes, we have.”

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Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than a song or two, perhaps even a line or two, to make up your mind. Such is the case with 8, the numerically-named new album delivered by the international tag-team of Tara King th. and Halasan Bazar, an album of effortless and immediate atmosphere. The album is a quite consciously cinematic combination of cool and cruel continental charm, genuinely moody, musically, and seemingly splattered in blood by slashing Farfisa stabs, combining to create a masterful, multi-hued, decadent-death-pop dream. How these nine songs and nine-million high points all add up to “8” is anyone’s guess (and we’re guessing it has little to do with The Lovin’ Spoonful). But in the album’s opening minutes, we had made up our mind: It’s really, really fucking good.

Where Halasan Bazar ends (somewhere around the border of Holland, we assume) and Tara King th. begins (somewhere along the border of France, we assume) is not immediately clear when listening to “8,” at least not to these ears. Rather, the two outfits seem to have merged completely. In he opening moments of “8,” it’s not the (lengthy, deserving of future investigation) biographies of the bands involved that immediately arises; it’s the feeling of an immediate departure.

The two-minutes of “Coeurs Croises” offer a woozy intro to the journey at hand, the aural equivalent of a film’s opening credits, before opening with the blockbuster scene that is “Rot Inside.”  A deceptively hip-shaking beat announces itself briefly, before this Dutch-Franco Frankenstein’s monster lurches forward, doing a mournful marionette dance to distant echoes of desire.

This tale of nurture, torture, fear, following and rotting inside somehow arrives as the lifeblood of the entirety of “8” that follows, defined by the back-and-forth beauty of the combined vocals from Fredrick Rollum Eckoff (Halasan Bazar) and Béatrice Morel-Journel (Tara King th.). Imagine the glorious glum of The Fields of the Nephilim, comfortable with the poetry, precision and popline sweaters of The Zombies, carrying on about a shared love for investigating witch cults of the radio age, and you may be close to imaging the sound of “8.” Better yet, imagine something else and you’ll likely be even closer. Better still, get the album. It’s really, really fucking good.

“8” by Halasan Bazar and Tara King th. is released October 13 through Moon Glyph Records.

“One must always be reminded that impermanence is permanent. I should have said: one needs to be reminded that impermanence is not permanent, nor is it transitory. It is simply empty. In the end, it’s of the essence to somehow grasp that Time, Space, and Memory are a fiction, and shall remain so against all of our efforts, even if one is enough of a magician to note that the truth of this fierce and beautiful planet – the appearance and events of ordinary reality – resides in select documents and myriad digital tote boards.” – Bruce Wagner


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