Robin Merritt Publisher
ArtFRONT Artists' Presentations
Performance on Thursday, May 29th
WUTC 88.1 9pm. & 10pm @ JJ's Bohemia,
Friday May 30th 8pm @ Barking Legs Theater
Ana Lola Roman
E.P. “Pearls On The Hook ” + 2 songs compiled from Ana Lola Roman’s online offerings.
Providing a radio write up for an artist that is about as blatantly un-radio in style and approach as anyone out there is going to be a tough one. Still I remember some of the most innovative and progressive stations I have ever listened to (such as WUOT Knoxville’s UnRadio Program in the late 70’s and 80’s) that became a tremendous influence on my being able to understand and enjoy a wide variety of musical styles. A few stations occasionally found space for artists such as Kate Bush, The Residents and Public Image Limited who worked outside of boundaries and who are to this day listed as influential by many of the more grounded and educated musicians. Esoteric though they were, that was a decade before to be “progressive” had not yet fallen into a genera.
The masses not withstanding there are more people today listening to post modern-experimental and as Ana Lola Roman states it “not experimental but eclectic” music than ever before. What seems to be happening with Ana Lola Roman is an artist who creates her own style from scratch, and a style it definitely is. Nameless yet perhaps, but still so highly recognizable that once exposed to her I think that just about anyone would recognize another of her songs the first time hearing it.
But originality by itself is not enough, music must be appreciable as an aesthetic experience and there is something appealing and very listenable evidenced by my own repeated listening to Ana Lola Roman. Maybe it’s hard for some to get used to but this music helps restore some of the inspiration of the experimental days of the early 80’s when suddenly everyone had the opportunity to record their own music and thus create their own style. Kate Bush & P.I.L. & The Flying Lizards comes to mind immediately. That music could have been dismissed as a hoax had it not been for the gripping primal beats, underlying social truths and totally unorthodox aesthetics that inspired a small portion of an entire generation who later went onto become some of the cultural leaders. Ana Lola Roman helps me get back to those roots of the days when a few people realized that everyone could be an artist if they simply cared and applied themselves to a modicum of craftsmanship and had faith in the value of their own individuality.
Does Ana Lola Roman’s music have the primal energy to move an audience to gyrating mindlessly that needs to accompany any intellectual pursuit of a musical art form? Yes it does. Is it danceable? Yes. Is it a dance band? No it is not. Does it Rock? Sometimes. Is it ethereal and psychedelic? Yes but not in any kind of pre-experienced fashion. Is it fun? Yeah it’s loads of fun and the recordings threaten an even more remarkably weird experience live, which is why listening to Ana Lola Roman’s songs for nearly two years has brought me to putting together this series of concerts so that some of us can experience the “movement” for ourselves firsthand and with a total element of surprise inherently built in.
Here I have complied some of my favorite tracks for presentation to any radio program adventurous enough to peek behind the scenes and see what the truly individual new artists are doing.
#1. Secrets That Are Funny
#2 Sparrow (Powerful chops right from the start get the beat ingrained into your bones to call on later when things go meandering in an unfamiliar direction)
#3. Man With an Axe
#4. Plutonian Pearl (Heavily layered wanton rantings of a powerful vixen.)
#5. Modern Day Nursery Rhyme (Sweetly psychedelic, soothing and totally indefinable in style.)
#6. Mr. Nautilus