Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Journey with a Singer, Part 9: 'A Woman a Man Walked By' (2009)

Now, this was a bit tougher going. In contrast to PJ-and-Parish’s previous collaboration, Dance Hall at Louse Point, A Woman … was recorded in bits over a much longer period and doesn’t hang together anything like so cohesively. If it has any unity, it’s that of two virtuoso performers enjoying what they can do. And ‘enjoying’ is the keyword: this is a recording that mangles styles, moods and expectations with anarchic glee. There’s a lot on it which is comic, though it’s serious more often than the presentation might lead you to think at first glance.

My memory is that I whipped through the album and then let it rest for a long while before returning to it again, which was unfair. I can now appreciate its cleverness and experimentation much more than I did. If nothing else it acts as a tonic against any impression of the maestra as a pitilessly demanding and downbeat artiste who can’t do anything but misery – as if we thought that anyway.

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