Thank you Doug Seidel and Todd Tuttle for making such an off-kilter album The Boy in the Barley Bag, which is a wonderfully experimental album that utilizes homemade devices, instruments, electronics, animals and sometimes other people. The only band who is comparable as far as sampling and implementation in my opinion is The Books.
The Boy in the Barley Bag is something you just need to experience. I would need to write a short essay if I was to go in depth about the combination of sounds the duo utilizes. It’s certainly experimental and definitely has some roots in free jazz and as well as the avant garde composer Jon Cage.
What the songs lack in memorable hooks they more than make up with in original soundscapes that your ears will helplessly follow. The beauty is you never quite know what is around the corner. The Boy in the Barley Bag is an album that feels limitless with possibility.
“Creeps In Me Creeps Me Out” is the opener and I’m not even going to attempt to try and unpack it. I think I heard a dog bark or maybe a xylophone. The song’s disparate sounds somehow come together and make a groove - a groove that is freakin’ awesome. Was that a fart I heard?
“Dutchman's Pipe and Daffodils” is another winner. The guys implement Tom Waits-esque vocals but the music doesn’t have much in common with the legend. I felt like I was going backward in time while on Xanax.
“Grunt Owl's Factotum” has a beat but I would probably trip over myself trying to dance to it while “Family Medical History” seems to have some banjo on top of squiggly noises that morph and descend into splattering pieces of distortion that drip with handclaps. Once I started going through a hyper-loop I knew it was time to back off a little the utter insanity my mind was experiencing.
“I Think” sounds almost exactly like my inner anxiety and “Banana String” well I'll let you chew on that one. They close with “Bimbo” which has some lead flute maybe? Who knows but there is a focal melody in the song.
It’s too early to tell but The Boy in the Barley Bag seems like a damn near masterpiece to me. You’d think music this experimental and avant garde might feel pretentious, cerebral and high art but it doesn’t - not one bit. In fact the main feeling I got was that it was a fun album. This is essential listening.
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