Label: Eargong Records
Recorded at The Steelworks-Rome and at Viv Corringham's flat in The Angel,London, November 2005. I arrived in London with some pre-recorded backing tracks and overdubbed the vocals and some guitar onto a mini disc. It appeared as Hipshot cdr 016 in 2005. Remixed for this version. This was the first time in many years that I recorded some of my own songs and it was the beginning of a series exploring sung lyrics across improvised electro acoustic backing, something I then pursued as a live concert presentation.The texts were expanded over the years using cut-ups of Thomas Pynchon's two novels, Gravity's Rainbow and V. There are many live recorded versions of Spirit Songs, everyone of them musically different. This was the first and I continue to present them.
"Spirit Songs.. a glorious marriage of all three of Cooper's previous musical strategies; creating a stunning hybrid. The album contains 10 songs performed on fingerpicked acoustic and electric lap steel guitar, often looped and treated in real time, with Cooper singing lyrics in a quietly meandering, semi-improvisatory manner that recalls a more polished Jandek. The style of songwriting is immediately recognizable as blues, but an intuitive, idiosyncratic form of folk-blues, with Cooper narrating laments over matters personal and global, gentle universalisms that double as political messages. All of this occurs over a loose rhythmic framework provided by various noisy loops, with cracks, scratches and pops, echoes and distortions skipping out from every refrain. It's a gentle cacophony with subtle undercurrents of beauty and sadness, effortlessly nostalgic but still very rooted in the now. I think that Mike Cooper can genuinely call this style his own; I've never heard anything remotely like it, and it works beautifully, highlighting both song and singer, as well as the happy accidents resulting from the intersection of structure and chaos."- Pitchfork Review.