Harold Nono – ‘We’re Almost Home’ (2020)
Edinburg musician Nono has been releasing intriguing music under various permutations and via numerous collaborations (Haq, for nearly 20 years now. This is his fourth solo release.
As with previous efforts, there’s loads of found sounds, samples, gimcracks and doohickeys rattling around terrifically nonsense titles like ‘Ron’s Mental Leap Coach ‘ (a soothing soak in a champagne bath), ‘Gold Lame Neckhold’ (an eerie, glitchy opera straight out of a David Lynch film), and the ever-popular and ambient navelgazing ‘Annie’s Phantom Life-Raft Choir’, although we only getting a tantalizing “excerpt” of the latter.
Industrial construction equipment replicated the tracks for the Faustian ‘Menton Train Jump’ and Morishige Yasumune lends his cellist talents to the cinematically-inclined ‘The Shout’. ‘Annie & Bunny Get Fast-Tracked’ is a carnival ride gone haywire, as our heroes (heroines?) on loan from Bunny & The Invalid Singers recklessly weave around the carousel.
True to Nono’s “unexpect the expected” remit, ‘Shaking On An Iron Bed’ is pure whacked-out improvisational Coltrane (kudos to sax slinger Anthony Osborne) when it’s not stalking around the room dragging an ambient film score behind it, and ‘Let The Light In (Prince of Darkness)’ continues the tongue-in-cheeky cinematic swagger. While ‘The Gurney Trips” sounds more like someone channel surfing on the telly than an actual acid trip (as usual, your mileage may vary) and ‘The Art of Rosa’ sounds like SETI recording The Conet Project, there’s enough left-field avant skronk and cinematic Tom-, Dick-, and Harry-foolery on display to whet your appetite for destructing and deconstructing your brainwaves to resequence what you expect (or unexpect) from a 21st century recording that refuses to follow the rules. And that’s always a good thing in our musical playbook!
– Jeff Penczak