The Aesthetic Animals [2008]

by Chris Dooks

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    From Benbecula Records press release
    (Who released the original CD of this album)

    Chris Dooks "sings the news" after meeting Turkish troubadour Latif Bolat and was inspired by the ceilidh storytelling tradition in Dooks' adopted Scottish home. He likes the idea that songs could be local news plus melody. Proper culture.

    Fed up with singing melancholy love songs during a failing relationship, Dooks got all conceptual and decided to write an entire E.P. based on finding local and global news stories - but avoiding - at all costs, the songs being 'worthy' despite having a song about global warming within the E.P.

    Dooks is a visual artist and electronica musician as Bovine Life and is an ex-director of TV arts documentaries, including a South Bank Show on sound terrorist Scanner.

    He's had his singing released on Highpoint Lowlife, and his electronica released via French label bip-hop. But this is his first suite of songs - and the release features a great cover by Mina Braun who did the artwork for James Yorkston's 'The Year of The Leopard' album. Here's a few of the news stories, loosely connected by the animal kingdom that inspired the critter-based song-suite :

    Iceberg B-15A, was the world's 'largest free-floating object' it was 122 km (76 miles) long, 27 km (17 miles) wide, and covered an area of 3,100 km2 (1,200 square miles, or approximately the size of Luxembourg). It inspired the track The Penguin.

    A swan flew in and smashed through the windscreen and out the back window of Gertrude Effing's van in Germany in 2005. The swan survived. This story was found in The Sun newspaper as one of the 'sun-spots' - brilliant one sentence news stories in the smutty rag. Dooks wanted to point out that he's mainly a Guardian reader.

    Parthenogenesis is an asexual form of reproduction found in females where growth and development of an embryo or seed occurs without fertilization by males. Some Salamanders can do this. But they've never had their own hymn till now!

    Sea Cows or Manatees have advanced sexual organs, which can be stimulated by sea kelp in the wild. Biologists have recorded that a manatee's orgasm can typically last up to two days. But in some manatees, a gene mutation means that occasionally they risk become 'locked' in orgasm, spending much of their life burdened by bliss. (Dooks made this up and reads it as a story on the E.P.)
    ... more

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1.
04:30
2.
03:47
3.
03:28
4.
03:06
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04:11
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8.
03:57
9.
02:52
10.
06:05
11.
01:07

credits

released February 15, 2008

All music Chris Dooks. Artwork by Mina Braun.

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