Album review: Quintron's 'Sucre Du Sauvage'
Enigmatic New Orleans organist Quintron and his musical collaborator Miss Pussycat have long dabbled in a bizarre and earthy dance music that defies categorization. The act has described itself as "Swamp-Tech," because it's "like rock and roll, but more swampy and techy," which is as good a description as any. Using an instrument of his own invention (the drum buddy, a light-activated oscillating drum machine), and a custom-made synthesizer outfitted to resemble the body of a car complete with working headlights, the Ninth Ward one-man band has been tackling projects without regard for popularity or trends since the mid-'90s.
His newest album, "Sucre Du Sauvage," which releases today on Goner Records, might just be his most outlandish effort to date. Part performance art piece, part concept album, the sprawling record (a double LP in its vinyl format) was recorded live at the New Orleans Museum of Art from Jan. 29 through May 2, 2010, in a completely public gallery space. With his home recording equipment set up behind a velvet rope and a "Do Not Disturb the Exhibit" sign, Quintron laid down dozens of tracks during his stint as a live art exhibit, which were pared down to 14 cuts for the finished album.
During the final week of the show, he set up a tent on the museum grounds and the surrounding City Park and spent his nights making field recordings of ducks, traffic sounds and trains that he then wove into the project the next day. The first half of the album consists of vocal tracks like the danceable "Face Down in the Gutter" and the eerie Miss Pussycat-fronted "Spirit Hair," while the second half is a series of moody soundscapes and dirges, including "Elevator," "Deer in the Clouds" and "Morning." The result is a free-form, almost stream-of-consciousness ride through a surreal, atmospheric and sometimes funny alternate universe.
Take a listen to "Face Down in the Gutter" from "Sucre Du Sauvage" here:
-- Jason Gelt
"Sucre Du Sauvage"
Three stars (out of four)