When I first listened to alū's album Infomercial Gasmask I half expected to hear somewhere in it the voice of the Red Queen doling out precocious warnings. Since then it has grown on me for reasons more than just the seemingly inexplicable gothic predilection we humans share and has prompted me to want to write about it.
Before all else alū is a master poet of genius insight. She unfurls strips of mobius verse such as "If you could tell the voices in your head there's nothing wrong, we would talk for hours in our sleep all night long" from Big Box, little box on felicitous wings to be more than just a simple statement of 'id riddance'.
This album is filled with such exquisite pros and explores many dark facets of loss and surrender to inevitability. I hope to see alū issue a book of poetry. I've never purchased such a thing but from her pen I surely would.
The music is a fusion of many elements such as trip-hop, electronica, pop, jazz, rock and world. I've never heard them fused in quite this way and would therefore appropriately call the style 'alū'. The bass lines and harmonies ride rhythms laden with everything from strings to bells and koto. Percussion ranges from large hall effect format to the more electronic and highly syncopated. And lightly woven in and out is a hint of jazz flavor that seems to radiate from some of these rhythms and perhaps some of the rhodes-like keys.
And what a voice -- alū's timbre sounds hauntingly like Annie Lennox with the occasional enunciation reminiscent of Anna-Lynne Williams. It is often paradoxical being both lonely and comforting. It is always intoxicating.
A final point of interesting curio is that the album is divided by time signature with the first four songs in triple meter and the remainder in duple.
I highly enjoy and recommend Infomercial Gasmask and alū currently has a new album in the oven slated for a 2007 release.
Links for alū: