FAME Review: Myshkin's Ruby Warblers - That Diamond Lust
Myshkin's Ruby Warblers - That Diamond Lust

That Diamond Lust

Myshkin's Ruby Warblers

Double Salt Records - DS4

Available from Myshkin's Ruby Warblers' online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

That Diamond Lust is definitely a bird of a different feather, and I'm not sure where to tell you to pigeonhole it, though I love the 'folk-tronic' classification the promo lit carries. I think the safest RIYL to put before the readers is Bjork, 'cause the restless Myshkin is a woman who would be as at home in a beat cafe as at a UCLA experimental-music fest as in a Lollawhatthehecka gypsy caravan as gliding through a lysergic nightclub. This is her seventh record, five years in the making, and I've no doubt she wrestled with angels and demons in coming up with it, not to mention hosting sundry dinner parties for epileptic sidereal muses by the boatload. Myshkin's Ruby Warblers themselves appear to actually be an aggregate of sessioneers pulled in to cover what Myshkin can't (and that ain't much, as she tackles not just the singing but the guitars, bass, mandolin, beats, and snyths as well), playing with the finesse of a chamber orchestra backing an earthy prodigy with inexplicable wellsprings.

'Hallucinatory' is an excellent sobriquet to lay on this highly arresting cycle operating as Joycean landscape. The literacy is stratospheric, eros racing through the shifting platform, and more than once I was reminded of what Tim Hardin, David Ackles, Tom Rapp (Pearls Before Swine), and others from the 60s and 70s were reaching for. It's difficult even to conceive of how one must arrange one's thinking processes just to come up with such a variegated and mellifluously phantasmagoric end result. Chaos is everywhere, but it's been leashed to an ornate stream of consciousness that swirls, twists, transmogrifies, and then halts to look at itself in a mirror, liking what it sees.

So distinctive is Diamond Lust as a pop-prog, cabaret, Romantic whatthehell that its sound earned Myshkin a turn in the famed BBC Live roster as she toured Europe. That landed her a contract with Double Salt Records, and thus we in the States now benefit. Sigh!, the damn Brits are always a step ahead of us, aren't they? Did I tell ya Myshkin hand-built an earth-walled permaculture 'art farm' in the Pacific NorthWest? She did, and it figures, being a Portlander (cool metropolis, that Portland!), being a TRUE artist (wait 'til you see the cover…by Mysh herself), and it's that core innovative wont that drives this release. When I was interviewing organomorph architect James Hubbell, I ran across the same polyglot set of aesthetics I'm finding in this outré belle diva and was just as gobwalloped, wondering just how such people make it through the day in the mundane world, like rare-plumed birds in a desert.

This is a CD that throws you into the deep end of the soma pool, but with grace athwart the ceaselessly warping and sliding perspectives, so, if you happen to be trepidatious of surrealism, start with Pity and Corvidae 'cause the rest of the roster will turn your head around backwards and, if you're lucky and paying attention, you might just find that that's the proper way to look at the world. You could even unearth some of that sense of wonder you lost as a child.

Track List:

  • Saturnalia
  • Lucky
  • Welding & Sawing
  • Hoopa
  • Too Late in the World
  • Corvidae
  • Whalebone Skirt
  • Pity
  • Beulahland
  • That Diamond Lust
All songs written by Myshkin.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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