By Michael Kemp, Poet, 17 December 2007
Cries of Desolation
The most enjoyable collaboration of 2007 has to be this bewitching encounter between jazz vocalist Carol Grimes and exotic percussionist & instrument inventor Giles Perring. Nine tracks, recorded in locations as diverse as Deptford and the Isle of Jura (not to mention Greenwich Foot Tunnel) - collected together here as "Something Secret".
This is extraordinary work. The counterplay between Grimes' voice - whispering,cajoling, consoling, accusing - and Perring's instinctive rhythms & intuitive percussive touches, make for exhilarating listening; sailing far closer to the edge of the avant-garde than any of Carol Grimes' previous work. Spiky guitar figures, trances, arcane texts: "heart beating, mouth singing, hands waving".
Looped voices, lap steel guitars, wah-wah bells, footsteps, glockenspiel and small pipes - all casting their potent spells and incantations, binding us all closer together with the timbre of her searing, passionate, vocals; as though her life depended on it. Hidden maps, voyages of discovery, sacred texts, set to the wind...
The music gathered here within "Something Secret" is an infusion, a veritable stampede of perfumes, shadows, spirits, dervishes, Rimbaud sighted in the ghost of Camden Town bookshops, amulets, charms, potions; music from the other side of the curtain. A series of stunning, stark, Caligari-esque landscapes to wander through, picking dark fruit... Why these bitter stories, still unspoken - why do I believe in us?"
The spinning piano mobile of "Steps" (featuring accordions, cunningly disguised as bagpipes, on the song-within-a-song, "Lord Lovat's Lament") - and the tapestry of intertwined voices that is the closing track, "Earth Poem", weaving their way through the dark night of the soul to a rousing, and spiritual, climax. An experimental album from Grimes and Perring, certainly; but easily accessible to those with ears to hear...
A fascinating aural journey, more than worth the taking; and the constant revisiting.