Music Reviews

Steven Severin

The Woman in the Dunes

The Re:group

Really, there’s no story to be had here. Move along, it’s just wonky ambient, like one step below Eno. I’m gonna have to award Severin about two-million grains of salt here, as the album was, according to his liner notes, “improvised” together in around a week, with only minimal guidelines. Yep, guidelines, since this was a piece commissioned by avant-dance troupe Shakti and the Vasanta Mala Dance Company. So you have to figure that, if left to his own devices and muses, Severin would have done a better job. Yeah. Both the production and this album are based on the novel Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe. And if this record is an accurate reflection of the novel, not a whole lot goes on. There is no fun to be had in listening to this record, it just evokes slowly shifting sands. The one VERY bright spot is Jarboe covering the Screaming Jay Hawkins chestnut “I Put a Spell On You,” and Jarboe is Jarboe, so she turns in quite a stellar performance. The jury is still out on whether she matches up to the raw brilliance of Diamanda Galas’ version from The Singer, but it’s worthy listening anyway. Hey Steve, when are we gonna see the Glove reunion? I’m pining.

The RE:group, PO Box 10463, London NW3 6FD England; http://www.stevenseverin.com


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