Spleen is Rob Ellis, a veteran drummer of (among others)
P.J. Harvey. His
Soundtrack To Spleen (Swarf Finger, 1996), recorded over a span of four
years, is musical theater that sets disquieting narratives to disquieting
music. Ellis employs reeds and keyboards to score his soundtracks
in a austere and improvised vein,
halfway between expressionist cabaret and free jazz. That "chamber noir jazz"
is equally inspired by God and
Drummer Lou Ciccotelli of Laika joins the ranks for the
EP Like A Watermelon (Swarf Finger, 1997), an album that tosses a little
funk and dub in the soup. The music benefits from the more propulsive approach,
resurrects the spectre of Rip Rig & Panic.
Little Scratches (Swarf Finger, 1998) assembles a number of star-studded
line-ups and therefore recalls the praxis of
another drummer, Anton Fier,
with his Golden Palominos.
While Ellis lacks the sophistication, not to mention the technological
know-how, to match his American counterpart, Spleen achieve a similar blend
of contemporary styles in a similar modernist and neurotic manner.
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