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Ginger Leigh - If I Should Die Tomorrow

This is a real puzzler. I've no idea if Ginger Leigh is a he, a she or a group. It perhaps doesn't matter as If I Should Die Tomorrow, one of a number of self-released CD-Rs from this Californian outfit, is a mixed bag of musical styles and atmospheres. They've been compared to Muslimgauze which I guess is a lazy reference to the eastern beats that feature on some of their tracks but any Muslimgauze listener who has picked up any Ginger Leigh material must be feeling puzzled, bemused or, more likely, cheated. Ginger Leigh appear to be coming from some lo-fi idealogy with an eye on skewed soundtrack material and a penchant for industrial noise, often augmenting source material with blasts of noise or distorted electronic accompaniment. Several tracks such as the opener 'Walk Tall' and 'More Unquestionable Truths' are based on appropriated funk grooves combined with lashings of harsh noises and crude experimental touches, kinda like V/VM. At other times soundtrack music is employed. There's a sort of European film feel to 'Artificial Limbs' complete with ethnic wailing and slabs of crunchy noise. A similar approach is found on 'Take Me Away To Dreamland' where a gentle cinematic score plays amidst electronics and shrill sounds. Then there's 'In The Month of March' which comes over like a medieaval piece strewn with crushed glass and bursts of searing noise. It's followed by 'My Only Son (Mourning Song)' a funereal dirge of acoustic (zither?) strum, ceremonial death beats and various percussive devices including bells and wind chimes which reminds of the weird folk group Xenis Emputae Travelling Band. The fuzzed out archaic instruments of 'Hole In My Heart' continues in a similar manner, this time set against eastern rhythms and a constant drone. It's not a patch on 'Love Letters' where the drone is pitted against finger pickin' banjo music, which halfway through can't decide to take the distorted banjo into psychedelic or mid-eastern realms before opting for an industrial hoedown. With its stop-start fuzz guitar, toytown rhythms and gruff gospel singing 'Red Balloon' beggars comparisons with Tom Waits, while the bombastic percussion, eastern wailing and orchestral swoops of 'Push/Pull' is closer to a harsh noise version of KnifeLadder or Steroid Maximus.

A real eastern feel permeates 'River of Tears' and 'A Taxicab Through The City'. The former augmented by electro-rhythms and whirring electronics, while the more authentic city sounds of 'A Taxicab...' are cut with Bollywood strings, handbells and explosive noise. It's the closest Ginger Leigh gets to a Muslimgauze sound.

If I Should Die Tomorrow is a disparate collection of tracks which succeeds as much as it fails. Its lack of cohesion is as much its strength as its weakness. Its ability to purloin from various musical styles is unique especially amongst the industrial and noise genres and, at least, they're attempting something different. Maybe it'll become clearer next month as another Ginger Leigh CD-R is sitting awaiting review...

Oh, and don't confuse this Ginger Leigh with this with the Austin based rock diva who I found myself perusing on the internet due to typing the wrong extension. Still it's nowhere as bad as my Sleeping Pictures mistake where an incorrect extension saw me ogling pensioners on a granny porn site! For more information go to www.gingerleigh.com