Black Magic & Moustache
(out of 5)
Simon Henneman—bassist/guitarist for the excellent Diminished Men—recorded this solo LP in 2006, but it has dwelled in limbo for five years while Assophon Records boss Hisham Mayet was preoccupied with putting out amazing records and DVDs for Sublime Frequencies. The nine songs on Black Magic & Moustache showcase the Seattle multi-instrumentalist’s chops and flair for alluring arrangements and nocturnal moods. If you’re familiar with Diminished Men’s twisted spaghetti-western soundtrack and spy-flick-jazz machinations (and if not, you need to remedy that error), you shouldn’t have trouble enjoying the vinyl-only Black Magic & Moustache. DM’s cinematic, post-bop style seeps into this record. “It’s All Red Ants” should set David Lynch’s heart aflutter with its white-knuckled waft of languidly rippling sax, murmuring vibes, and measured, squealing guitar. “Woo Woo” enters a strange world-jazz netherzone courtesy of what sound like Gyuto monk gutturals, gongs, bells, tranquil sax arabesques, and hand drums. Other highlights include “Killing an Elephant”—a majestic reverie that explodes like fusion deities Mahavishnu Orchestra at their most flammable—and “Night at the Bone House,” whose profound, lunar drone recalls the evanescent isolationist-ambient movement of the 1990s as well as György Ligeti’s Requiem. Oh, yes—Black Magic & Moustache is so worth that five-year wait.
Listen to the album at www.soundcloud.com/simonhenneman/sets/black-magic-moustache.