Astute readers who’re well-acquainted with “The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy” surely remember these immortal lines, spoken by Marvin the Paranoid Android at the climax of the second series:
“Any work that references David Bowie in any way or the other partakes of his genius”.
Everybody knows that. Hugh Jackman certainly did when he signed up for “The Prestige”. He once claimed he became involved with the movie just to be close to Ziggy Stardust. My only question is why did he have to ruin Wolverine afterwards with his towering height (he gives Chewbacca a run for his money, he does) and his wooden face (he gives Orlando Bloom a run for his money, he does). On “The Prestige”, he had Christian Bale and Scarlet Johanson to cover up for his gross deficiencies. But on “Wolverine”, he had to carry all the weight by himself. Bleurgh.
And the boys from Uoh! also knew as much. Their latest album is named “Manuales Ilustrados del Pequeño Tesla Vol2. Hagalo Usted Mismo” [Little Tesla’s Illustrated Handbook, Vol. 2. Do It Yourself], in a nod to the brilliant inventor that Bowie brought back from oblivion in “The Prestige”. Poor fella, if only 10% percent of what you can read online is true then everybody and his wife ripped him off. Either that, or the one who wrote the Wikipedia post about Tesla is one of his direct descendants, and he’s had to lead such a destitute life that he’s tattooed a “V” for vendetta on his forehead.
On to this record, now. Personally, I find reviewing it quite a departure for one simple reason. See, “Manuales Ilustrados del Pequeño Tesla Vol2. Hagalo Usted Mismo” is a 100% instrumental album. So, I can’t bob my hair like a character out from “Amélie” and start dissecting its lyrical connotations. There are none. I have to focus on the aural experience.
Fuck you, Hugh Jackman.
And a la Traveling Wilburys, this is the second part of an album that didn’t exist. Whatever you do, don’t go looking for Vol. 1. Look for happiness, look for love, look for a mountain of serenity. Look for whatever you want, but don’t look for the first installment of this record. It’s nowhere to be found. (There is, however, another EP by Uoh! that was released in 2011.)
Seriously, now, I have to admit that this album did sustain my interest in quite a unique way. Most instrumental music I know comes across as secondary, as music that is there to act as the backdrop for something else. But not this album. “Manuales Ilustrados del Pequeño Tesla Vol2. Hagalo Usted Mismo” is remarkable because the music is an independent entity. Listening to it, I never felt as if the music existed to be the soundtrack to some other work. Never.
It’s got five tracks; the shortest clocks at 3:00′ and the longest at 19:00′. And although I found the album really engaging only in spurts (such as the first three minutes of “ANATOMIAE OCCULTII” and the last ten minutes of “Nov.08 04-47 a.m”), the feeling of autonomy was there all along. And it was pivotal to the true enjoyment of the music.
And it’s crystal-clear that the final track (“Nov.08 04-47 a.m.”) pays homage to the line in Taylor Swift’s “Better Than Revenge” which goes “she thinks I’m psycho cause I like to rhyme her name with things“.
Well, maybe not.
But for some reason, it made me snuck into my sister’s room and retrieve her copy of “Speak Now”. Blame it on a simple twist of fate.
“Manuales Ilustrados del Pequeño Tesla Vol2. Hagalo Usted Mismo” is the latest album released by Uruguayan label Esquizodelia Records. Ever since I first covered them in 2010, they’ve more than doubled their number of records. As usual, you can download them for free on their site. All albums come with artwork (this one comes with a copy of Tesla’s handbook, including a series of inventions that would make 80s’ spies proud), and in some cases with lyrics sheets.
So, there you have it. “Manuales Ilustrados del Pequeño Tesla Vol2. Hagalo Usted Mismo”. A key to the highway where nothing but paeans are sung. A question that validates itself between lapses that are neither short nor long. A torch that sets fire to the blackest of nights, and renews the morning.
It’s all of the above. It’s all of the above and more, I swear.
Just don’t make me type that name again.
This is Esquizodelia Records’ website.