Elijah Minnelli – Creamed Horn


Cows are nice animals. So friendly. Grazing and gazing, dozing and digesting, happily turning grass into milk, not even protesting when some farmer drops by to take it and turn it into cheese. Or butter. Maybe even yogurt.

But not in Breadminster anymore. No Sir. According to the reports that accompany the release of this record, a group that calls itself “Breadminster Bovine Welfare” (BBW) took offense in the theft of milk from these lovely animals, started spraying graffitis of protest onto the walls of the once so prosperous dairy companies of the region. “Down With Milk!” was one of their messages, part of a campaign that all but ended the dairy history of Breadminster.

BBW? Hm. Okay. Anyway, according to the report of the Breadminster County Council, “a new era of go-getters working studiously to transform the once-heaving bovine yard into Breadminster’s most famous and prominent super-club: The Busty Ladies Forum.” Wait. What was that BBW thing again?

It seems that Elijah Minnelli is a man of many interests and talents. To read the story he puts behind this EP takes almost longer than to listen to it. It’s definitely worth reading, well written and funny in a nicely wacky way.

Describing himself as being inspired by what happened in Breadminster, and by “the spectral moos of freed cattle”, Elijah Minnelli turns his impressions into three tracks that could hardly be more idiosyncratic. Which means – at least to me – thoroughly enjoyable.

Naturally, “Creamed Horn” is mostly about cows. The educated among us will easily understand who “They Of Many Stomachs” are. Cows have quite a few of them. If I remember correctly, they need them all to digest the grass – something we humans are completely incapable of doing. One stomach only. Grass is just passed through and that’s it.

Yes, this is among the weirdest stuff I have heard in 2022. Imagine a potentially socially awkward guy with a somewhat peculiar taste in music and a healthy disregard of popular production techniques setting up his recording equipment in an old dairy production facility somewhere out in the foggy British countryside, meticulously collecting sounds from the bovine past, moos, knocks of hooves and stools toppling over, assembling them to form rhythms that feel like folk, dance like clunky Latin ghosts and transform the mist of the countryside into weird and wonky clouds of Dub.

Not that this is in any way surprising. At least if you have had the chance to listen to any of the other four releases Minnelli has put out over the last three years. It’s all pretty much on a planet of its own. Some of what we hear can be explained as he has his own show on Soho Radio that features “vintage calypso/mento/cumbia/beguine alongside left-field dub & reggae cuts”. It’s just that if you read that you don’t expect this.

It makes you wonder what kind of folks might be hanging out over at the “Busty Ladies Forum”. Pretty illustrious crowd. Some Dub Techno freaks shoving minimal beats across the floor, accompanied by distorted Latin horn themes from somewhere upstairs, some guys from an obscure Caribbean island twisting the knobs on the Space Echo, turning “Blue Top” into an unexpectedly groovy experience. For “Cud”, some stoned out percussionists seem to be dropping bones and horns and hooves onto the tiles to create a rhythm somewhere between Cumbia and coincidence, nerdy sound scientists are inspecting the premises with strange microphones that capture bovine sounds from ancient times, and in all this strangeness you have this weird feeling Tom Waits might be dropping by any minute.

Enriching little EP. Moo!

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