Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Griff says; New Orleans Swim Team - Not waving but drowning
I hope the artist doesn't mind being described this way, but I've got a rather 'odd' little musical treat for you tonight. The artist is completely new to me and goes by the name of New Orleans Swim Team. Don't assume by that name that we're talking about a large ensemble here, however. No, these are the intimate solo recordings of Alberta based, self-taught, multi-instrumentalist Jacob Ulickij (pictured) and he's burst into my consciousness this week with what appears to be a debut album; Sitting On Fences. Like much of the best indie-folk brought to you by The Streetlamp, this music is self-recorded at home and has the urgent, soul-baring insistency and labour-of-love imperfection of all great outsider art. Given my appreciation of honesty in art I find myself drawn to its compelling, almost guileless, sincerity. Jacob plays all of the music on the album and, rather than singing his dense, elaborate, poetic lyrics, he speaks them in a vulnerable, often whispered, undertone that just adds to the intimacy of the messages therein. Listening to the songs is rather like plugging in directly to the philosophical stream-of-consciousness of a sensitive young man trying to make sense of a confused and confusing world.
The music itself is largely indie-folk with a dash of primitive chamber pop and some art-rock experimentalism thrown in for good measure. The only artist that it really reminds me of at all is illustrious and enduring experimental artist and musician, Laurie Anderson. See what you think yourself, I've embedded (below) a couple of songs from the album. There are nine songs in total and all of them can be downloaded for free on the New Orleans Swim Team bandcamp and soundcloud pages. I suggest you do visit the bandcamp page though, as all of the lyrics are printed there and, if you're at all like me, you will want to read them just as elemental prose poetry.