Boomkat Product Review:
Further to John Duncan’s remarkable album of cover versions, Bitter Earth, iDEAL present an additional 7” featuring his haunting version of the ‘60s R&B classic which gave that LP its title, alongside covers of Jules Styne and Pere Ubu evergreens.
Whilst best known for his extensive research in the fields of EVP, psycho-acoustic phenomenon and experimental music, this 7” also serves to reveal Duncan’s exquisite taste for popular music, albeit toned to fit his unique catalogue of sounds.
At Duncan’s hands, This Bitter Earth is transformed into an ambient lament fronted by his own, husky vocals which really emphasise the titular lead phrase but counter it with more optimistic swells of keys by Eiko Ishibashi and “damaged accordion” from his regular collaborator, Carl Michael Hauswolff beautifully ambiguous, almost redemptive effect.
It’s followed by a compellingly mournfully take on Jules Styne’s I Fall In Love Too Easily, channelling its forsaken feels into a lowlit chamber jazz vibe with solo vocals accompanied by Domenico Sciajno’s standup bass, before tempering the glam swagger of Pere Ubu obscure B-side Final Solution (1976) with a bed of looming Hammond organ and spare percussion that descends into a heavily abstracted drone.