I listen to lots of music. Always have, but probably more now than ever. I guess it’s all to do with access. Growing up we had Radio 1 and, once a week, Top of the Pops. If we wanted to hear to the music that we wanted to listen to, at a time that suited us, we had to own the music. But we had no money. That made us selective. We chose carefully. I believe that many people who grew up before streaming and accessibility to free music probably still have a parsimonious streak, which means that we are quick to evaluate and quite discerning.
Therefore, when an album hits me square between the ears on the very first listen, I get excited. Back in the days when you had to own music to hear it, I would desperately want to own this album. I would pay my hard-earned paper round earnings to own this album. And once I had it, I’d make sure all my friends heard it. And they would nod and agree, that I was, for one fleeting moment, the coolest cat on the block. All because I chose to spend my dough on Netta Goldhirsch’s stunning debut.
I reviewed it recently for Louder Than War, so you can find out what I think of it in detail there. For now, let me just say that Love Doesn’t Exist is like no other album I have heard this year and, as I said up top, I hear lots. This is genuinely unique. It is an eclectic, innovative, ambitious, avant-garde collection of no fewer than twenty-five tracks (with an average length of about a minute and a half). In my review, i describe it as something that might emerge if Billy MacKenzie, Hatis Noit, Marlene Dietrich and Tom Waits were all locked in a studio together to make a soundtrack for a David Lynch movie.
Netta Goldhirsch’s vocal is quite stunning, with an incredible range that includes the operatic (and I seriously love opera). It is all created in partnership with musician/songwriter/producer Pete Murphy, who has created a melodic, haunting, kaleidoscopic, clanking cornucopia of wonderful sound.
As I said at the time, praise be the avant-garde, the unusual, the freaks, the risk-takers, the ones doing it for love not Instagram followers, the boundary pushers, innovators and pioneers. People like Netta Goldhirsch and Pete Murphy. Jeez, we need them now more than ever. And, as a footnote, as I write this I have learned that Love Doesn’t Exist is one of Louder Than War’s top 250 albums of the year, which is an incredible outcome.
And kudos also to their label, Wormhole World who have released several fine albums this year (check out 47 Minutes by Not Quite So) and are equally unafraid to take risks. Without them and their ilk, we would all be listening to Coldplay.
Key track: Pretty Words. Because that’s where the best of opera lives.