Music: Lon Milo DuQuette’s “I’m Baba Lon”

If you’re on the fence about buying the music, the two second verdict is that it’s worth a buy. Also until midnight Friday, artists get 100% of the sales if you buy the music through CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/lonmiloduquette

If people are worried about the production values of the MP3s, don’t be. We’ve all bought (usually pop) music where the MP3s sound like crap and they’re grossly squared. There’s none of that here. The guitar sounds properly mic’ed and it isn’t muddy, it’s got just a hint of separation which gives it nice depth and texture. The rest of the instruments sound nicely layered and it’s obvious DuQuette cared about the production of the CD just as much as the music.

The checkout process from CDBaby is painless and you can use paypal. It lets you link social network accounts but it’s not obvious why. You get your receipt from cdbaby, a receipt from paypal (if used) and a courtesy note about gnomes asking you to reply if you find any problems with your download. Slightly weird, but it’s actually a customer service note. The big question – can you download it again? The answer is “yes”. Sign into your account on another device and your download link is there again under “digital downloads”.

The overall feel of the CD is interesting, it’s somewhere between blues and country with a small pinch of southern jazz. A slide guitar provides the country, blues licks give some of the songs a bluesy feel, the jazz comes from a plucked bass. Sometimes you can wander around the house and have the music on in the background but the music will reward a better listen. “Last Night I Dreamed of Dead People” in particular has some witty parts which are easy to miss if the music is just put on in the background. “Cold Lips of Paper” also stands out as being a slightly different feel, the whole CD is without reverb but on Cold Lips it’s present and it gives it a nice, soft feel. “Caffe Vivaldi” is probably my favorite track on the entire album, it’s sort of a who’s-who of occultism and has plenty of puns.

What’s the topic of the CD? I almost feel like it’s an autobiographical work. Lon works magical topics in there to get back to his roots, but there’s a lot more in there about life in general. There’s romance, drinking too much, and human fault. If you’ve read his books, it’s the same tone in Low Magic and other works of his which tell stories. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to have him make a Low Magic musical. It would amuse me greatly. Lon does a great job of getting the listener to empathize with him, and through empathy with him we can approach empathy with other topics he presents. As a storyteller, Lon is in his element and the CD is just top notch.

Lon’s voice is fantastic throughout and his sense of timing also lends some of the songs a loose but fun feel. It almost feels like a live performance in places.

About the only criticism I can muster is that the tracks run together almost too easily. The sound is nice and meandering but a change of key or instrumentation would be appreciated. It happens for some of the tracks – “Miss Harlow” has a lovely string section – but this is a common gripe in the soloist genre and not a huge fault for a guy who only passingly mentioned guitar lessons as something to pay the bills in his books. Miss Harlow also has a neat phonograph noise at the beginning and end of the track along with a spoken word section.

The secret track “Shem” is another spoken word track, with a nice guitar background. It sounds like it could fit comfortably in The Chicken Qabalah. It’s a nice way to end the disc.

So is it perfect? No, but music rarely is. Some of the songs might run together but Lon’s storytelling is really the showpiece of this work. Is it a great effort and worth the $9? Totally. Buy it from CDBaby before Friday and Lon even gets to keep all 999 pennies.

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