The Black Heart Procession + Solbakken

The Black Heart Procession + Solbakken

In the Fishtank


Knowing some friends of mine, I’d have to fear for my life if I ever gave the Black Heart Procession a bad review. Luckily, Black Heart’s In the Fishtank collaboration with Dutch prog-rockers Solbakken is awesome enough to keep my head off the chopping block for the time being. In the world of my CD collection, BHP’s only appearance is Amore del Tropico, their sweaty, black and red foray into south-of-the-border rhythms. From what I understand, it’s quite a departure from their earlier work, but it’s a logical point for this one-off project to spring from.

The opener “Voiture En Rouge” sounds like a virtual rewrite of Tropico’s “Broken World,” with the vocal spotlight shown on a Swiss lady who sings in French. “Dog Song” and “Nervous Persian” lope along, dirge-like featuring piano and violin as the respective, mournful pall bearers. Both are depressing and brilliant.

I’ve never heard Solbakken before, but their influence on “Taste of You and Me” and “Things Go on With Mistakes” is unmistakable. There’s an actual jaunt to the gait of the piano in the former. Coupled with warp speed skittering drums, it’s as close to happy as Black Heart is likely to get. The latter sinks back down into the mire, but instead of going quietly, suffers through a maelstrom of guitar wash, errant drum beats and a ten minute stretch of head butting Wall of Bass. It’s enough to make me wonder exactly what Black Heart Procession’s “sound” is, and how it is better than this.

As far as one-off projects go, this is the best one I’ve heard since Motorpsycho + Jaga Jazzist Horns (also an In the Fishtank release). It’s really more Black Heart’s show, but Solbakken add enough fingerprints to spark curiosity in me to seek out their solo material.

Good news! I just got word that those fine folks I call my friends are letting me keep my fingers. At least until I do the write up for BHP’s DVD…


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