The Morning News

Listening Hauntology

Two musicians, elegant and focused modern powers, continue in guise, obscuring their true form, for their respective new releases. Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bat For Lashes sooth us, flowing through our guts with a folk inspired hauntology and electric flourish. Will Oldham, in character as Bonnie “Prince” Billy, has kept the curtain down on March release Beware, only revealing a demo of “Beware Your Friend.” Scribbled on parchment, it’s a picture of a rural wanderer with straw for laces, standing triumphantly atop a far ridge. Oldham is uncomfortable with those rooting for a song’s meaning, so he created an alter-ego and defensive trance that he could look to and gradually understand. This trance is Bonnie “Prince” Billy, someone for whom the wick is long, a guide we can trust to steer us through a harsh country winter and keep us safe.

For Natasha Khan, this is not routine, not an encore. As Bat for Lashes, she lets loose, reaching deeper with second album Two Suns and introducing alter-ego Pearl. They swim through rivers of fantasy, dry off in the locks of golden boughs, warm up beside sparks of electronica and flames of dazed trip-hop. Debut Fur and Gold was all whistling winds, howls, circus tricks, mist and lake mirrors; Khan played a chanteuse of druid-rock in possession of a dark energy. Two Suns burns all that energy, alchemizing Bj√∂rk, Kate Bush, and Tolkien. As Two Suns begins, with “Glass,” Khan marches armies to the beat of a Song of Solomon, across desert and heath, til the dawn. This is a different sort of defense mechanism to Oldham’s—it’s a power protecting the whole dimension.

Breaking the illusion to make the point in a different way: What links these two? Kayne West, of course. He’s fan of Bat For Lashes, and Will Oldham appeared alongside hilarious comedian Zach Galifianakis in a video for Kayne West’s fantastic “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.

Oldham & West & Khan & Galifianakis: A Holy Quadrinity. Beware! They will take you! —
SHARE THISEMAIL THIS • FILE UNDER: Bat For Lashes, Bonnie Prince Billy, Kayne West, Natasha Khan, Will Oldham, Zach Galifianakis

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