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MP3 Shamus Dark - Songs For Suicidal Lovers

dark vocal down-tempo beats - FILE UNDER QUEASY LISTENING.

15 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Down Tempo, JAZZ: Weird Jazz

“Songs For Suicidal Lovers” is the debut album from previously unheard of and reclusive vocalist, Shamus Dark. Despite living a life that could only have come from fiction (see https://www.tradebit.com), and being involved with music for decades, this is the first time that a recording project featuring Shamus has seen the light of day. And as such it has been a labour of love, on which Shamus decided he must record the songs that had most deeply affected him throughout his turbulent years. Although it features songs from nearly every decade of the 20th Century, Shamus was also categorical that the arrangements should sound like nothing that has gone before:

“I’ve heard all these ‘Standards’ albums by these young upstarts where they just take Nelson’s old arrangements and re-record them – what’s the point in that! If I want to hear Frank, I’ll listen to Frank (and I’ve spent many years doing that), but I’m bollixed if I’m going to sing like him. Don’t get me wrong – I love the man – but this album is SHAMUS DARK – that’s me folks!”

Featuring songs originally “owned” by Frank Sinatra, as well as other classics from writers and performers as diverse as Chet Baker, Carlos Jobim, Hank Willams, and Joy Division, the album really is a different take on what has gone before. Arranged and mixed by Hong Kong producer Pete Millward, well known in Asia for his Celestial series of albums (see https://www.tradebit.com), the album includes sounds as diverse as Sitar, Shakuhachi and Erhu, as well as jazz guitar, trumpet and down-tempo break-beats. And over the top of all that, Shamus’s sad sweet voice.

Like Shamus himself, it’s a Dark album, not for the faint of heart. File under: Queasy Listening.

by, Flann O’ Neill

The singer you hear when you listen to Songs For Suicidal Lovers is a man I met two years ago in Georgetown, Penang in Malaysia. It’s one of the former British Straits Settlements, first colonised in the late 19th century, 150km from the capital Kuala Lumpur and about 700km from Singapore. Penang is an island just off the west coast of the Malay Peninsular in the Malacca Straights, a stretch of water that divides the Peninsular from the island of Sumatra. I was on a trip with my wife Suzie, visiting her family. We go there for three months every year; they’re summer months, so the weather is not exactly ideal if you’re averse to rain, but it does give me the opportunity to write and do my translation work without the usual pressures of western city life.

After dinner one very hot evening, I excused myself and took a walk downtown to whet my thirst and maybe catch some entertainment in Sling Sling’s, probably my favourite bar in the whole of south-east Asia. Situated in the basement of the Hotel Metropole, it’s one of those places you fall in love with the minute you walk through the door; flaky rococo plasterwork, wooden beams, an enormous beaten-copper topped, horseshoe shaped bar and huge electric fans swishing above your head. There are dozens of signed photographs on the walls, mostly of Asian artists, musicians and film stars going right back to the 1930’s. But there are also signed pictures of Hemingway, Peter Lorre, Josephine Baker, Jacques Brel, Graham Green, Lotte Lenya and Jean Gabin. Whether all these people actually frequented or gave performances in Sling Sling’s is a moot point, but legends do tend to become more firmly entrenched in people’s minds with the passage of time and Laura, the hotel’s beautiful but mysterious owner, assures me that it’s true and believe me, you don’t argue with this formidable woman. As this town is, quite frankly, off the radar as far as the western world is concerned, I like to think that this wonderfully atmospheric bar is one of the best-kept secrets east of Casablanca. It was here, in the summer of 2004 that I met Shamus Dark.

It was a hot and sticky July evening. I’d come to Sling Sling’s that evening at Laura’s request…..

To find out how Flann met Shamus and the making of the album, go to:

Recorded in London, Hong Kong, Marseille, Los Angeles and Kathmandu.

Sleeve Creative Direction and Design by https://www.tradebit.com, original illustrations by https://www.tradebit.com

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