Irma Vep is the solo incarnation of Klaus Kinski drummer Edwin Stevens. Turquoise Coal's debut release, HAHA is in fact the tenth full length Irma Vep album, although the first to appear on vinyl. We think it is the best thing we have heard in ages.
In the great tradition of drummers' solo albums, HAHA is more 'Oar' than 'No Jacket Required', more Nixon & Jarvis than Ringo Starr, and bears little relation to Klaus Kinski's fearsome "broken glass dipped in napalm and rammed up your nostrils" sound.
The LP is a stark, stripped down and intimate affair, achingly personal and uncompromising. Edwin plays everything himself... through amps... onto tape. The record was recorded in two days last November and the resolutely lo-fi result radiates an unpolished warmth seeped in melancholy, guilt, humour, sex, disgust and other stuff.
HAHA is no single-gear ride though – tracks like 'What's That in Your Mouth' and 'All People Are Poison' see Edwin rocking out with abandon, perfectly complementing the affecting poignancy of songs like 'There's Nothing Wrong with Feeling Wrong' and 'Be a Mother'. Edwin reckons that HAHA is the most normal thing he's ever done – happily on this occasion, 'normal' has no connection with 'mundane' and it turns out to also be one of the very best things he's ever done.
You won't hear a more human record this year. HAHA's understated magic stands alongside the likes of the Velvet Underground's 3rd album, Skip Spence's "Oar", Big Star's 3rd, Neil Young's "On the Beach", Leonard Cohen's "Songs of Love and Hate" or early Palace Brothers... without sounding at all like any of them.
The record comes as a numbered edition of 200 copies in screenprinted sleeve by Dylan Hughes (with exclusive art print insert by Alexandra Humphreys in the first 100 copies) together with a CD of the album so you can also groove while on the move.
Hear selected tracks from the album on Soundcloud.
The record was launched at a special live event at Cob Records, Bangor on Saturday 24th March 2012 as part of the shop's final day's celebration before closing. Irma Vep played live in the shop and HAHA was the last ever new release on sale at this legendary shop, which tragically closed after 33 years of supplying the finest sounds to the people of north Wales. HAHA is now available to the wider world and can be ordered in our shop.
Love is Loving Someone Else's Baby Tonight
What's That in Your Mouth
There's Nothing Wrong with Feeling Wrong
All People Are Poison
Bare in Mind
Be a Mother
Irma Vep with guest DBo playing live at Cob Records, Bangor 24th March 2012