Sunday, 28th May 2017. 8:20:56am ET
Reviews CD Reviews Experimental, IDM, Glitch Diamanda Galas- La Serpenta Canta


Artist: Diamanda Galas
CD Title: La Serpenta Canta
Label: Mute Records
Reviewer: Matthew Johnson
Date: 8/7/04

This 2-CD set collects a number of live songs from the incomparable Diamanda Galas. Delving mostly into her blues and gospel material, all of these tracks feature Galas accompanying herself on piano and using her usual bag of vocal tricks. Moving effortlessly up and down a three-octave range, Galas bellows, shrieks, hisses, and moans in torment. Like all her material, it’s both impressive and unsettling. John Lee Hooker’s “Burning Hell” is stretched into a ten-minute miasma of piano and melisma, while Sinatra’s “Dancing in the Dark” is jumpy enough to set your teeth on edge. “At the Dark End of the Street” is uncharacteristically soft and touching, while Hank Williams’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” – dedicated to executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos – is tortured beyond recognition. To finish things off we have a traditional song – “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” – that has become a Galas signature, and a reprise of “Burning Hell.” Because versions of many of these songs have been released on previous albums, this might not be the most essential Galas release, but this is all wonderful stuff, and for a newcomer there is no better place to start.

True Galas aficionados probably bought this on European import last year, but everyone else can check out sound clips at www.diamandagalas.com.


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