Lovage / Nathaniel Merriweather

Lovage: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By

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Another art-hop incarnation from eccentric beat magician Dan "The Automator" Nakamura; the Automator's groundbreaking work appeared previously on such projects as Dr. Octagon's Dr. Octagonecologyst, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Deltron 3030, and the Gorillaz's self-titled album. For this affair, Nakamura returns as sonic paramour Nathaniel Merriweather (previously materializing as this character on the superb Handsome Boy joint) on a brooding but often darkly humorous journey through the dark side of the love life. The label 75Ark's given definition for lovage is "an herb that is said to be a benefit for relieving abdominal pains due to gastrointestinal gas...also touted to reduce flatulence when consumed as a tea." This satirical bent on the album at first seems to be a gentle mock on the quiet storm genre that over-romanticizes and almost trivializes the act of lovemaking. However, as Nakamura's ostensibly sensual beats begin to invade the listener's mind-frame, the music renders a feeling more of the painful nausea of a bad trip or a love hangover. While Nakamura is quite possibly one of the most accomplished beat processors in the realm of art hip-hop/electronica, his strict-composer approach on this project is occasionally inaccessible and at times unlistenable. Adding to the confusion is the erratic Neanderthal stylings of former Faith No More frontman Mike Patton and the sultry but often irritating vocals of Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields). This duo represents the bulk of lyrical montage presented here and the results are often quite nightmarish sonically. Guest appearances from Afrikka Bambaata, Charmelle Carmel (Maseo of De la Soul), Chest Rockwell (Prince Paul), Damien Thorn VII of Deltron fame (Damon Albarn of Blur), and minimalist DJ Kid Koala lavish the project with texture and splotches of black humor. In the end, the Automator seems to have proposed something a bit too far flung to be enjoyable: exposing the act of love as a carnal and alienating endeavor. Too artsy and too much of a bitter herb to swallow.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:19
2 3:56
3 4:17
4 4:16
5 3:17
6 3:16
7 1:55
8 4:28
9 4:45
10 4:36
11 1:04
13 3:53
14 1:38
15 4:29
16 6:05
blue highlight denotes track pick