Cooper, Mike – “Light On a Wall” – [Backwards]
All ageists bow down then take a back seat. Mike Cooper, age 74 as of this review, has put out a strange, challenging, intelligent, work of twisted electronic drone and squelch accompanied by stringent guitar work with his distinctive blues edge. Cooper’s musical history is illustrious: from his work in the 1960’s with blues guitar and the elite of the blues world, studying and mixing Greek string stylings with avant garde practices, incorporating electronics in experimentation with styles and sounds from a multicultural practice, and more, Cooper is the real deal. “Light On A Wall” is no exception. Cooper plays an electric Vietnamese lap steel guitar with sounds heavily processed through a Zoom Sampletrack looper and a vintage Kaos Pad. Alongside electronic squeaks, squelches, twists and drones, Cooper’s vocals (sounding somewhat like Scott Walker) sing tales constructed of chopped-up material from Thomas Pynchon’s novels “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “V”. “No chords, melodies or harmonic patterns for each song are planned prior to them being performed”, and therefore, each performance is unique. A true visionary whose work has become more complicated and challenging as he matures. Bravo. May we all be able to say the same as we grow older.