What a way to kick off our annual Musical Advent. Claude Cooper’s Myriad Sounds is nothing if not aptly entitled. Released in the dim and distant past (well, January), I described it in my Louder Than War review as “vital and vibrant and exactly what we need to kick start the year”.
This incredible melange of psych-funk, jazz and seventies soundtrack entices you in and then, like some kind of whirling vortex, hurls you hither and thither. You are its captive throughout every second of its thirty-three minutes. Incredibly, within that relatively short timeframe, there are twelve tracks. Twelve relentless bursts of sheer brilliance.
There’s another angle to this album that appeals to me and that is the mystique that surrounds its creator. Just who is Claude Cooper and where has he come from? From Myriad Sounds’ cast list we can see that he is extremely well connected, with Si John (Reprazent), Billy Fuller (Beak), Jeff Hollie (Frank Zappa) and Sean Snook (Beth Gibbons & Geoff Barrow) amongst his collaborators.
Moreover, the more observant amongst you will detect a common thread. Bristol. Myriad Sounds was the debut release for label Friendly Recordings, an offshoot of the legendary Bristol record shop, Friendly Records. Beyond that, nothing more is known. In fact, he refused to do interviews in the run-up to the album’s release.
Whoever he is, he has succeeded in creating a record that thrills throughout. There is not a dull moment on Myriad Sounds. And it is such a short album that you can comfortably absorb it all on your daily constitutional. But if you are strapped for time, check out the debut single, Tangerine Dreams, which is propelled by John’s phat upright bass, and the electrifying groove of Stan’s Plan.
Now, if only there was some kind of follow up in the pipeline…