The Tapeworm presents a brilliantly unexpected curveball of prescient productions from notorious/enigmatic NYC model/badgyal Leslie Winer. Recorded in '94, “& That Dead Horse” fixes on a slow and cold brand of songs that garnered her '91 debut “Witch” so much acclaim, also earning her the title of “Grandmother Of Trip-Hop”. There's undoubtedly a strong parallel with Massive Attack or Tricky in her drowsy, deadpan, and smoked-larynx vocals with dub grooved bass, but Leslie preferred a more stripped approach, shunning soul samples in favour of dry lo-fi beats with occasional flickers of junglist breaks and minimalist wavey atmospherics. Her lyrics draw on a decades experience working in the fashion industry, jaded by its excesses and most likely pushed to express herself in this manner by close friends William Burroughs and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The result is 45 minutes of darkly intimate songs, strangely unsullied by 15 years of changes within musical to sound brilliant today in the midst of a cold wave revival. Recommended.
Aquarius Records (US):
Another list, and another batch of obscure tapes from UK tape label The Tapeworm, this one from someone called Leslie Winer, a mysterious former model, a pal of William Burroughs and Jean-Michael Basquiat, a sometime guest vocalist on records by groups like Bomb The Bass, who ditched modelling, dropped off the map, but not before making a record called Witch, considered to be an essential early chunk of proto trip hop, and this batch of tracks, dating just a year or so after Witch, does indeed offer up a gorgeous murky bit of skittery, downtempo weirdness. Obvious references are Tricky, Massive Attack, even Portishead, the same sort of creepy crawly late night shimmer, dark and dubbed out, the rhythms skeletal, the vocals, hushed and whispered, a sort of slow motion toasting, dark croons over billowing clouds of thrum and whir, loping rubbery basslines, slowed down samples, bits of reggae guitar, druggy and dubby, woozy and warbly, everything wrapped in a gauzy haze of record crackle, tape hiss, blurred ambience.
Here and there the drums are cranked up into something more block rocking, but even then Winer transforms it into something more murky and surreal, the bass gets super distorted and fuzzed out (some dubstep foreshadowing for sure), everything wrapped around effected acoustic guitars, more sampled vox, strange little flurries of percussive filigree, all smeared into a mesmerizing bit of shuffling tripped out, psychedelic downtempo moody muddy groove.
LIMITED TO ONLY 250 COPIES! (Sold Out)
The Wire (UK):
1994 archival recordings by this underground fashionista legend, sometimes referred to as the grandmother of triphop. The ten tracks here are of a piece with Winer's sole LP. The mood is drifty, casual, smoky and beat-flecked, but non-reliant on samples to a degree that gives it a nude feel.
released December 29, 2017
Recorded upstairs mostly 1994.
Originally released on cassette (Sold Out): Curated, Compiled & Mastered by Philip Marshall
❝After reading System’s incredible interview with 92-year old Polly Mellen, I realised how boring fashion is today. Those were the days, when Leslie Winer and Jean Michel Basquiat made out at Irving Penn’s studio. As she describes, a ‘visual privilege’.❞...more