Tuesday, February 21, 2012

3 Moons - Almanac of the Dead

'Alamanac of the Dead' is like a diary, chronicling the first five months after violent death; full of sand and whispers and scorpions.

3 Moons is the solo project of Jefferson Zurna, who i became aware of with his work with Fake Hospital, who make the best post-Gysin Morrocan dervish worship that i have yet witnessed in person. Imagine my incredulity when encountering 3 Moons, and finding this irrational, out-of-body cosmic blues. All right folks, i would never utter these words without complete sincerity, but i have truly never heard anything like 3 Moons; i mean, i've heard similar ilk. At times it rubs elbows with psych/free-folk, there's definitely an improvisatory air at times. There's a creepy, reclusive Jandek vibe, (which for some reason, is the highest mark of recommendation i can give right now). But Almanac of the Dead is all of these things, at the same time, with even a splash of early N'awlins jazz, at times. The impression i am left with, which makes it all the more surreal, is i am reminded of pre-war blues, field recordings from dark hollers, when acoustic instruments had not yet been tamed, and confined to 12-bar cages.

The acoustic guitar is the spine of this record, and Zurna's really a damn fine guitarist, and song-writer too, that is just making this otherworldly ethereal music. I am in awe of artists who put such care and craft into left-field creations; the world is a stranger and more magickal place because of it. These acoustic barn-burners are accentuated with unexpected textures like sci fi warbles, frogs croaking, waves lapping. Almanac of the Dead will take you places, far far off the map, off the grid, beyond words, beyond linear thought. You better pray you have a guide book, cuz otherwise yr gonna get eaten by a jackal-demon.

Zurna is also the closest living inheritor of the Burroughs/Gysin cut-up hashish mysticism that i have met in person. His music, and his writing, is imbued with those stark jump-cuts and pulp mysticism, gunslingers and mummies and hashish and the afterlife. I truly get the feeling that he lives in his own goddamn world, and i want in! He has seen things, known things.

At the end of the day, all that matters is the sonics, and Almanac is an enjoyable listen, something for the hermeticist and the traditionalist alike. The guitars, the clarinets, the banjos, all glowingly recorded. The voice; plaintiff, heartfelt. You can really get a sense of 3 Moons Kansas City warmth, humility. His music is sweet, mournful, heart-felt, real, and really fucking strange.

The more i peer into the cracks of the Fake Hospital axis; 3 moons, white gourd, million brazillions, probably others i haven't heard yet, i am slightly in awe that i know these people.

Almanac of the Dead is available as a free download, from 3 Moons bandcamp, and can also be had as a cassette or CD-R.

Fake Hospital is playing tonight, at the fabulous Ella Street Social Club, joined by White Gourd for the occasion, with Eye Myths, Dracula Lewis, and JAWS.

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