Tuesday, 30 October 2007

David Shrigley

Here is something that I wrote about David Shrigley's 'Worried Noodles' project for the News section of Vice Magazine.

David Shrigley- Worried Noodles

I would really love to not like David Shrigley. In case you have been asleep since 1992 David is that Glaswegian artist guy who doodles his every waking thought, no matter how weird, in these tiny crappy looking sketches with a bit text knocking around somewhere in the general vicinity of the tiny crappy looking sketch. It should be so easy to hate him. The drawings look like a 5 year old did them and as soon as you mention him to anyone else ever they start gushing praise like you just told them that you have found a way of curing their chronic halletosis problem (what is going on with all the bad breath right now, ever heard of gum guy?). The problem is that his work is so resoundingly, brilliantly funny and profound in a completely unassuming and ego-less way that you have no other option than to agree with smelly breath over there and love him with all your heart forever. I even have one of his sketches right here by my desk. It’s about the law of straightness and it keeps me calm when I am loosing it spectacularly from all sides. Like a little oasis of positivity in a day that might otherwise crush me.

Last year the German record label Tomlab commissioned Shrigley to create whatever he wanted for them. He came back with something called “The Missing Sleeve”. It was a 12” record sleeve that contained no record but instead a liner notes booklet for a tonne of the sort of songs that Shrigley probably has knocking around his head all day. “The Missing Sleeve” sold out pretty much before it went onsale and it was kind of inevitable that Tomlab would get someone to record these sketches. And so “Worried Noodles” came to be. It is a measure of how much love there is for this guy’s work that the double CD is rammed with a lineup of musicians that would give your average Pitchfork reader full blown wood on sight. Deerhoof, Phil Elverum, Trans AM, Liars, Hot Chip and even the much missed Les Georges Leningrad all cut tracks for the project. It is good that Les Georges chose “Manager & Coordinator Of Prostitutes” as one of the last things they ever released. Fitting.

We spoke to David, Aidan Moffat who used to be in Arab Strap and the guys from Psapp about “Worried Noodles” mainly as an excuse for me to talk to people we like.

Vice: David, how did the decision to record the songs come about?
David Shrigley: I guess it was probably logical. Either the music industry is full of hyperactive people or maybe there’s just too many of them because the whole thing seemed to happen in about a week and everyone got in arguments about who got to do what track. It was nice though. Once the songs were recorded it was like meeting an old friend at an airport that you hadn’t seen for so log that you had forgotten what they look like.

What attracted you guys to the project as musicians:
Aidan Moffat: He asked me in the pub. You cannae say no to a request from a gentleman in a pub.
Carim Classman (Psaap): I just though that the line “Peter just called to say he saw a slug eating a chip” was the best line I had ever heard.
Aidan Moffat: He’s just weird but really funny. That is what I have been striving for and failing to achieve with my music for years. That creepiness but with a bit of a laugh round the corner. It’s harder than it looks you know.
David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors): Yeah, I didn’t really know his stuff from before but now I think it rules like anything. It’s so odd and yet jubilant. That song I chose “Come Forward” just seemed like the oddest and most jubilant of the lot.

Did you consider recording any of the songs yourself David?
David Shrigley: I do have a band but we are pretty rubbish so not really.

Worried Noodles will be available as double CD or triple vinyl package accompanied by a hardback 106 page book on Tomlab Records from October 23rd.

There will be a special performance by a selection of the artists featured on the compilation at Cargo in London on Sunday the 14th of October. We imagine that it will be pretty great.


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