My introduction to British songwriter, artist, ex-Unhome vocalist, onetime Jackie-O Motherfucker touring guitarist/Fuxa synthesizer player and current Imbogodom tape manipulator, Grumbling Fur member, and Stephen O’Malley (etc.) collaborator Alexander Tucker came via 2005’s Old Fog, a downcast, eerie, droning finger-picked album that reminded me of Six Organs Of Admittance “with a gloomier British shade.” As I wrote then: “Tucker piles inland shanties atop field recordings, piano, jittery bows, noise squalls, and bone creaks.” A lot’s changed in the ensuing years, as evidenced by “His Arm Has Grown Long,” the intense, swirling compositional opener to his fifth album, the Alan Moore-influenced Dorwytch. The sound’s denser and poppier (string arrangements, cleaner electronics, his first use of drums via free improver Paul May), but Tucker manages to maintain the older eerie, lonesome feel. Maybe because he’s still doing it mostly by himself. Listen:
Dorwytch is out 4/12 via Thrill Jockey. Other guests included Duke Garwood, Jess Bryant, and Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Guapo, Aethanor, Miracles, Mothlite). A nice bit on the album’s themes:
The album’s themes run the gamut from abstract tales of the everyday, to the supernatural, to other-worldly experiences. Influenced heavily by the work of Alan Moore, songs such as “Matter” reference this directly with themes of metaphysical human/plant matter transcendence inspired by the comic Swamp Thing. Tucker is also fascinated by strange creatures conjured up in tracks such as “Half Vast” where he loops synth pulses to create blissed sonic atmospheres where organic spaceships give birth to plasmatic babies. Or pieces like “Skelator Blues” with chiming guitars and haunted vocals giving birth to skeletal beings who stalk the earth. There are some more mundane themes at work in songs such as “Mildew Stars” (the only one with traditional tunings) about childhood coastal holidays and his dad’s collections of musty old books, prints and found precious things.