The odd pairing of Amanda Palmer (performer of street theater, solo artist, and member of The Dresden Dolls) and Edward Ka-Spel (The Legendary Pink Dots) has created an equally odd album. Funded through Patreon, it's more of a rock-art project than an album of songs.
Ka-Spel's avant-garde approach to music is well documented, as is Palmer's, and together they venture further into a cosmic miasma. There are no immediately fetching melodies or attention grabbing hooks, so the music must be listened to with a thoughtful awareness in order to appreciate the subtle nuances of these musical dreams.
Unique and daring, these tracks play out like twisted adult nursery rhymes or songs from a soundtrack to a Tim Burton musical. The mood is mostly somber with a clever mingling of electronics, classical piano and violin, and of course some ukulele sprinkled in for good measure.
Palmer and Ka-Spel seem intent on establishing a mood with slowly evolving rhythms, fluid electronic textures, and various sound effects. Both provide vocals at various points, which at times makes for an uneven mix, adding to the overall oddity of the project.
The sometimes haunting sound tapestries feature thought provoking sing-speak over an underbelly of eerie synth washes with occasional charming melodies percolating to the surface. Each track evolves slowly but they vary enough to keep the listener's attention, although it's tough to take in all 11 tracks in one sitting.
Both artists are admired for pushing the envelope of musical boundaries, so it is impossible to anticipate what to expect on their collaborative effort I Can Spin a Rainbow. While definitely an acquired taste, ultimately it's an auditory adventure worth taking.
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