The work by producers like Phil Spector or Joe Meek allow different approaches into the music. Most obviously, the actual finished product itself, numerous and immaculate 3-minute symphonies. Whilst both individuals’ reputations are tainted these days, several songs they helped make unique and sold millions, are rightly regarded as classics forever.
Running parallel to the songs themselves, the sonic detailing and studio manipulations, how those works were actually made by those pioneers, also forms the bedrock of countless more technical points of intrigue and invention. The retelling of the 1950 and 60’s in music is regularly told via the way those pieces of music actually came into being in the studio. How layering and a bank of effects, experimentation and curiosity turned soul, pop and rock music into something far deeper and more immersive, even via tiny radio speakers.
That long lineage of girl groups like The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas, AND all the studio trickery, is spectacularly and feverishly reimagined in Curtis Godino Presents The Midnight Wishers.
Masterminded by Brooklyn’s Godino, the album is yet more evidence he is unable to ever rest nor repeat himself. The mangled trippy mayhem of his former band Worthless, the sampled collaging of Bellboy/Bubblecrunch, the spooky prog on Nothing On Semble, the zeotropic adventures of Alien Nation, but every new chapter reveals another slither of weirdness…
This time, we centre in on a new band The Midnight Wishers collecting the close harmonies of Jin Lee, Rachel Herman, and Jessica McFarland, and backed, and sonically warped by Godino. The feeling quickly emerges, we are heading for the prom but weirdos have spiked the punch. Imagine the first Back To The Future film but Zappa and The Shaggs have supporting roles, whilst the whole elaborately detailed mess is directed by David Lynch…
The opener Always Waiting ironically builds like a huge finale, chiming and twinkling like a Christmas fantasy tugged at by biting gales and sweeping mellotron. Show Me That You Care plots a breakup, where the girl unflinchingly dumps her loser boyfriend… I Hate to See You Leave is the snappy soundtrack to a sped-up food fight in the school canteen.
For us though, things start to mesh with No Place Like Home, a bleeping space that signals something darker – and odd emerging. The night sky twinkling with Raymond Scott touches. As the album moves into its final third the whole sonic landscape grows thicker in the spiralling, I Want to Be the Monkey on Your Back and the spacey drift of Hungry.
He Loves Me Not builds around disorienting Beatles keys, as electronic fronds and displaced voices blossom amongst the counted petals. The closer I’ll Be Wishin’ is a spotty house band trying to rock out whilst the crowd are pairing up before the house lights go back on…
Overall, The Midnight Wishers is a truly bizarre listen. Admittedly our tastes gravitate to the weird production touches scattered throughout this release more than the vocals and songs themselves. Clearly this is music that requires a huge amount of organising and planning, and knowing his bedroom studio / mad scientist approach makes the results here as staggeringly detailed and as innovative as ever. A casual listen sounds like a radio station I’d not normally listen to, a headphone listen reveals a world I want to live in.
Without overshadowing the undoubted central focus of the Lee, Herman, and McFarland, Godino has yet again shown he is a remarkable, fearless and limitless talent.
Curtis Godino Presents The Midnight Wishers is out now on Shimmy Disc, available on vinyl and digital