I cannot say for certain whether or not Krautrock producer Conny Plank ever met Scott Walker but if they had met the collaboration might sound like Prince Nifty’s Pity Slash Love—a synthesized ice storm of polyrhythms, R&B, Soukous guitar, and shoutouts to local art collectives. As the title implies this is a love album, replete with hormonal sax solos and white soul pleading, but the object of desire is as obscure as its creator.
Prince Nifty is one of the many project names deployed over the years by multi-instrumentalist Matt Smith whose mercurial arrangements have always called for explanation by creative writing. With his new album you’re in an Ethiopian restaurant; you’re with an ex you shouldn’t be talking to; the last shreds of injera have been cleared and a solo performer on a wedge of a corner stage turns on a DX7. A cracked speaker powers up. Pity Slash Love is the sound that comes out—a portable world music for cities, because that’s where the world is now.
released May 7, 2013
all songs written, recorded and performed by Matt Smif except Naab; Colin Fisher's sick pysch wah wah wha wah guitar and Thomas Gill's dirty digits on the keys on Pity pt 2; and Brodie West's Alto sax on BODY IRONY.
Pity, love and thanks to Thomas Gill, Colin Fisher, Brodie West, Liz Peterson, Rob Gordon, Owen Pallett and a special thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.
Build of green glass windows
Build in the red
Leverage the neighbourhood
Mortgage the shadows
with simple plans
and neutral tones
Strip this city of its bricks and stones.
Rise from the smoulder
from dead industry
upwards from downturns
and wide as the broad side of a barracks
build this city on buried bones.
Ontario Municipal Board
You poisonous mushrooms,
Phil Pick and Richard Florida.
As every crane can raise and spin
so everybody's moving
Silly shitty city pity
As every crane has boom and jib
so everybody's moving to Brooklyn.
Grow in the crease
where asphalt meets fences
where houses meet weeds.
through the streets
all these new beginnings explode
Business is business on rich sandy lome
Bury your dollars
and harvest a home
All that cheddar
All that cheese
Grow that debt to income ratio
Silly shitty city pity
Track Name: Don't Let's Not Make Music
Who writes songs
For the bankers and stock traders?
Who rhymes on behalf of negotiators?
What of the prattles and shakers of speculators?
Lately I've been having the strangest dreams.
I'm in the middle of the street
I'm rich and I'm naked
Like the morning miracle
There was something in the air
I was awoken by fear.
Like the Emperor's New Clothes
Like an empty barber's chair
Save for a hair
I was barely even there
Like a painting upside down
Hanging on a wall that is bare
Turn it around
Don't just lie there.
So I got up
Feeling charmed by good luck
Squeezed the lemons
Quenched the demons
"The Mind will wander
The will to be too will be blocked
But don't let's not make a little more music"
Difficulties! Retreat! Retreat!
The demons and the skeletons
step behind and take a seat
Lately I've been making faces
Running over and over
all those blushing moments had
I remember the other day
Trying so hard to relay
it in words but I could hardly say
Another morning miracle
Another paralyzing fear
Another dentist-less year
Another self-destructive phase
Another ornamental tear
Down my face
Into my trappist beer
Another stanza on the page
In this barn-board café.
Track Name: Once For Joseph
O, how the world, with you, does wax dreary,
As the ocean's drawn, like tears, by pale moon,
So white, so deep. How mind and voice do croon
And swirl in ceaseless eddies, You, weary,
But nonetheless connected as the tide,
And thorough as a summer's day, and wide
As continents, spanning ages, grinding
Jagged stone to grain, all without changing.
Yet, comfort is a precarious thing,
Chalked and hollowed it may appear,
So weighted are these words, they do not sing
To distant virgins, rather, to your ear
They whisper gently, with a will to be,
And in an instant float back out to sea
Track Name: Vincentian Values
“Come to Galilee for that”
“six funereal plumes of palms[.]”
“six funereal palms[,]”
“six funereal plumes of palms”
“We reached Tabor”
“We reached Tabor safely”
“We never saw a human being on the whole route”
“never saw a human being on the whole route” ...
“Nazareth is forlorn”
“sang[,]” ... “Peace on earth, good will to men[.]”