IF YOU didn’t get chance to catch up with Bastien Keb’s excellent and off-kilter, genre boundary-dispensing, musical novel of a record The Killing Of Eugene Peeps last autumn – and trust me on this: this album, (his canon) is likely to be talked about in years to come in the same breath as In An Aeroplane Over The Sea, The Monkees’ Head, &c, as one of those records that seemingly arrived from somewhere else, a personal vision, aware but not quite of the times – then now really is your chance.
For The Killing Of Eugene Peeps is getting an official Japanese issue come a month from now; thus coming with obi strip and Japanese liner notes courtesy music critic and radio show host Masaaki Hara. The same, but with extra frisson.
In our review at the time, we noted: “It’s an album that hits the previously uncharted sweet spot between Americana, 60s’ European soundtracks and hip-hop – well, uncharted by all but Bastien; he must be a fascinating person to have an all-back-to-mine with, around the stereo in reverence. It’s sad, it’s knowing, it’s groovy as hell. It’s much more than an imaginary soundtrack; it’s a novel.
“There’s a reason his previous brace of long-playing sallies into the world go for the eye-watering amounts they do; it’s because this music is clever, reflexive, intriguing, questioning, and will repay much investigation. One of the records of the year. Buy.”
It made a respectable entry in last year’s Backseat Mafia 50 best albums of the year chart; oh, read out full review, here.
I hadn’t heard an album with such scope of vision since … since well, maybe Outkast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below, in an absolute refusal to be hidebound by genre and a glorious talent for working across all of them.
Accompanying this rerelease news, Bastien’s just released a video for one of the standout acoustic tracks from that album (an album which also ventures towards Vincent Gallo, Armando Trovajoli, even hip-hop), the 3am restless, bone-deep chill of “Lucky (Oldest Grave)” – watch that, below; in which a massed chorus of multi-tracked Bastiens lament in that stark and winter-monochromatic way Bon Iver captured in such arresting fashion early on and forgot to bottle thereafter. It’s a wholly different continent of noir. This is the noir of your soul.
The video is also suitably surreal: we find our sonic protagonist slept in, unbuttoned and lighting up his first fag of the day in front of the keyboard in a dun gloom; the action cuts across the room, which seems to multipurpose as one of those backstreet cafes that seemingly also act as a day centre for the bewildered and the dispossessed; a frowzy barbers; the sort of pub you never see anymore. It’s all very discomfiting, weird and sad, which is just as it should be with a song of this heft.
Director Giles Calahane says:“We wanted to make something interesting and original with an ambiguous setting in terms of location and time period. Influences included: Mean Streets, by Martin Scorsese; Slackers, by Richard Linklater and Werckmeister Harmonies, by Béla Tarr.”
Bastien Keb’s The Killing of Eugene Peeps (Official Japanese Edition) will be released by Gearbox Records on June 25th on vinyl. Order yours here.