From Macbeth to King Lear, via songs inspired by Pasolini, Syrian refugees, Fellini and the Cantebury Tales... welcome to 'Pillycock' and the world of Momus in 2017.
In case you were wondering what a 'Pillycock' is, it's a Medieval English word (it turned up in nursery rhymes and King Lear), and it means penis, it maybe where we get the slang word 'pillock' from. So far, so Momus. Anyway, I digress...
The music melds together Elizabethan madrigals, Egyptian strings, farfisa organs, samples of Stockhausen, Japanese folk music, Arabic instruments, Algerian singers and the idea of Michael Jackson singing over an Irvine Berlin number.
Along the way on 'Pillycock', there are references to Balzac, Shrödinger, Yeats and, amusingly, Fischerspooner. It's fitting that his last compilation was called 'Public Intellectual.'
Momus soaks up all of his eclectic influences and inspirations to create his fascinating art (watch any of his online 'lectures' and you'll be taken aback by the amount of books, music, art exhibitions and films that he absorbs). The end result is an intriguing mash up of ideas and styles, imagine Bowie, Eno or Scott Walker on a shoestring budget and you're heading in the right direction.
One of the highlights is the subtly psychedelic Judy which ponders 'why does sex always make me think of death? ...there's a thousand ways to come but always one to go'. In an alternative universe this song would be constantly on the radio.
Elsewhere on 'Pillycock', 2009 is a black comedy about an ex- boyfriend won't accept that a relationship is over and Euotrash is an autobiographical moment that shifts from bitterness to tragedy in the final verse. The closing track 'Scuttle' (which includes a sample from a very early Simple Minds 'Peel Session') is a curious and hysterical finale.
As I mentioned earlier in 2017 'Pillycock' was the point where I made my re-entry into the world of Momus after a lengthy absence (see review: https://www.outsideleft.com/main.php?updateID=1475). However 'Pillycock' is a brilliant place to pick up his story again and to discover all of the albums that this unique and prolific artist has made.
Momus has made an album a year for the last 30 years, I'll be intrigued by whatever films, music, books and places inspire him in 2018.
To read my interview with Momus for Outsideleft visit: https://www.outsideleft.com/main.php?updateID=1479
Jason Lewis is a Birmingham based music, movie and arts obsessive. Jason's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.