WHO ARE THEY? A multi-disciplinary meeting of minds between legendary punk poet Patti Smith and the experimental NYC/Berlin duo Soundwalk Collective.
WHAT IS THIS? The first of a triptych of collaborative concept albums inspired by the travels of avant-garde French poets Antonin Artaud, Arthur Rimbaud and René Daumal. Talk about cliche, right?
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Every bit as esoteric and artsy as it sounds. But much weirder and more impressive than you’d expect. As Smith (and, on one song, Gael Garcia Bernal) dramatically, compellingly recites Artaud’s druggy, decadent verses — many inspired by a 1936 trip to Mexico, where he insanely tried to kick heroin by using peyote — the SC (who retraced his trips in every sense of the word) craft primitive atmospheric soundscapes out of tom-toms, violins, and even sticks and stones.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Antonin and the Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Trip.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While smoking French cigarettes and sipping espresso in a candlelit basement coffeehouse. Or after downing ayahuasca in a sweat lodge with a shaman. Your call.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Surreal, disturbing, tense, noisy, apocalyptic, transcendent, hallucinatory, nightmarish, ambitious, grim.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Honestly, calling them songs is a stretch — they’re more like chapters in a the world’s weirdest audiobook.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK? Maybe it’s time to start planning that intervention.
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? About as often as you re-read William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A MOVIE, WHAT KIND OF MOVIE WOULD IT BE? A black-and-white foreign film without plotline or subtitles, shot on Super 8.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? Isn’t the first hit supposed to be free?