• Carla Bozulich
  • Constellation
  • 2006-05-15

This is another stone in the crazy-paving of Carla Bozulich’s musical output. Throughout over twenty years of recorded output she has covered dadaist wordplay, theatre/film scores, “confrontational sex/sound assault” (with Ethyl Meatplow) and a faithful re-recording of Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger.

Evangelista was recorded at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal, spawning point of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Silver Mount Zion, et al and is co-produced and played on by Efrim Manuck from the former band. The dischordant orchestrations, strings and found sounds of these groups run throughout this recording, but the apocolyptic, biblical tones have been replaced by a more insular, personal and suffocating experience.

The two parts of the title track open then close the album. “Evangelista Part 1” sets the unreal tone that is pervasive throughout. Masts creak and violins screech as a woozy sea shanty unfolds. Bozulich’s distinctive and emotive vocals fall from the speakers, and then it bursts into droning violins. Insane, brilliant stuff. It’s reminiscent of “From Here To Eternity” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. A version of traditional folk standard “Steal Away” follows, and despite being swathed in distortion and drone it emerges as a simple and beautifully dark hymn to change the mood.

This is a consistently otherworldly experience.

Evangelista is best listened to as a whole piece, as singular tracks defy contextualisation. It generally falls into two song types, those with simple/minimal instrumentation (often masked by effects) and elements of structure and recognisable melody, and the more formless ‘dirges’ (meant in a good way) or layered, mysterious movements. The highlights tend to fall in the former group, like the noisy cover of Low’s “Pissing” and the short, ethereal lullably of “Prince Of The World”. The songs falling into the second catagory are harder to love but add contrast and a challenge for the listener. “How To Survive Being Hit By Lightning” is particularly good, the most aggressive and uncompromising of the nine tracks presented.

This is a consistently otherworldly experience akin to listening to the sountrack to a David Lynch version of The Cruicible as performed by Kate Bush. This is a beautifully packaged, strange but mesmerising record.

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