As ever, an immaculately crafted release from those nice folk over at Sonido Polifonico. This particular one is pretty jaw dropping, it be the ‘Donkey Jukebox’ by one time member of Big Eyes, James Green. There’s two versions of this doing the rounds, the album and lathe variant, basically the album on black vinyl plus a two track lathe 7 inch featuring a brace of compositions that couldn’t be shoehorned to the lp awash in all manner of badges, tokens and a hand numbered / hand signed print by Mr Green himself. Then there’s the standard album variant, as above but without the lathe cut and this time pressed on ‘duck egg’ green wax. Ours in case you are wondering, and I should at this point say many thanks to head honcho Paul for sending over, is a very strictly limited fusion of the two, in that we have the green vinyl album and all the trimmings. An accompanying piece, ‘a kind of soundtrack’ according to its author who goes on to say ‘I’m a linocut / screen-print artist and a lot of my work is based on an imaginary donkey world, the ‘Donkey Jukebox’ takes you far out of the smoke, stress and bluster of city life and into the deepest wiles of the rich green hidden countryside. Upon the grooves, six tracks all in, lazily recline and snooze. Hunkered down in some sun peeled meadow beneath the overhang of an ancient tree, these feint and prettified pastel sketches silently observe and take in the daily play of the countryside. To the wheezing reverie of creaking accordions, various wind instruments and all manner of strange noise making artefacts to hand, Green weaves a delightfully wistful and lilting soundscape that coos, chirps and charms, a joyful listening experience both intimate and thoughtful that took this particular listener instantly to his childhood, for these woodland waltzes are indelibly weaved from the quilled imagination of Kenneth Grahame and the serenely innocent landscapes of Oliver Postgate (those childhood visitations coming to call with the arrival of the sleepy headed chamber drone ‘donkey jukebox no 3). The sounds light and floral not to mention distractively quaint, usher in a sense of free spirited innocence, their twilight murmuring dappled and demurred in the yawning lilt of Vernon Elliott – see the wonky and broken piano lullaby soothing its way throughout ‘Donkey Jukebox No. 2 – with a tender side serving of Ivor Cutler. What might easily pass for melanchole is more so a representation of peace and tranquility hidden far and shutting out the maddening rush of the outside world, the best cut of the set being the adorably homely ‘donkey jukebox no. 4’ whereupon all the various instrumental players are cosily sat rested around a nighttime campfire as were, deep in sleepy chatter and cheery exchange, it’s a most tender moment delicately weaved in the finest and most lulling bucolic finery. That said, ‘donkey jukebox no.5’ which you’ll find on the lathe eition is no slouch in the affection stakes, a dreamland cortege of lullaby wooziness, a bit like a dozing family of Clangers serenaded by an astral ISAN and before you’ve need to ask, as ever, essential. https://www.sonidopolifonico.co.uk/james-green and https://jamesgreensounds.bandcamp.com/releases
Next up for the Sonido folk, a strictly limited split lathe release featuring Pefkin and Barrett’s Dottled Beauty.