NOT WAVING & DARK MARK
One of the years more unexpected collaborations, legendary singer songwriter Mark Lanegan and Ecstatic maverick Alessio Natalizia, aka Not Waving, hook up for this timeless, modernist fusion of barrel-aged narratives and diverse, experimental backdrops that reminds us of everything from Scott Walker to Conny Plank & Moebius, from Christof Kurzmann to David Sylvian. Its one of those rare link-ups that truly transcends the sum of its parts, with Natalizia's rolling range of nuanced electronics acting as a backdrop for Lanegans smoky barritone storytelling. Delivered in a husky but pliable voice, Lanegan inhabits the songs with a reserved presence that has served him so well for decades, but which has never been heard in quite this context.
Pairing music recorded by Natalizia between London, Italy, and Paris over the past five years, with vocals recorded by Lanegan in LA, the duo arrive at dreamy non-place thats not defined by geography or time. Instead the album offers a timeless insight into human behaviour, as reflected in the sleeve art details from the Lights of Canopus, a Persian version of the ancient Indian book of animal fables, the Panchatantra. Thanks to Lanegans classically dusty tone - famously described as being scratchy as a three day beard yet as supple as moccasin leather - and the breadth of Not Wavings production, the results draw listeners deep into the artists shared plane of world-weary but quietly hopeful conception, emphasising the power of closeness and empathy.
Their songs come on like waves lapping a shore thats ever-shifting, ever the same. This cycle is epitomised on the opener, Signifying The End with Lanegans raspy tone met by honeyed synths, before scaling the nocturnal heights of City Of Sin and coolly channeling Suicide in Burn Out Babylon. The waters calm again for Persimmon Tree suitably set to harp-like arps, while the deathly croon and impending throb of Murder In Fugue comes to rest in the serene resolution of The Broken Man in a manner thats entirely modernist but speaks to eons of human emotion.
Echoing everything from latter-days Scott Walker to David Sylvian at his most strung out, and even the odd energy of Moebius, Conny Plank & Mayo Thompsons Ludwigs Law album, or the arcane creak of John Duncans Bitter Earth, Natalizia & Lanegans efforts will realign listeners presumptions of both artists and place them in a category all of their own.