OUT OF SEASON
If you ask Oli Heffernan – aka Ivan The Tolerable – how many releases he’s made under that name, he has to check and cross reference. Let’s call it 42-ish including Out Of Season, his seventh release as Ivan this year. (This is to exclude his work as Year Of Birds and Detective Instinct and as a member of Houseplants and King Champion Sounds).
For a man as restlessly, constantly creative as Heffernan, the lockdown is a blessing and a curse. His trusty Tascam 8-track recorder recently collapsed under the pressure after fifteen years and countless albums but there’s no sign of Heffernan joining it.
For Out Of Season, his first full band project since last year’s Rations, Heffernan says he wanted to make something that was ‘somewhere between Faust and Sun Ra, but still sound like me’. He asked regular collaborator Karen Schoemer to provide the words and then asked another regular Mike Watt (yeh, that Mike Watt) to provide the voice (‘I relly needed an American voice for the words and Watt has the best American voice’, Heffernan points out.)
Heffernan recorded most of it himself at home, with contributions from Mees Siderius (King Champion Sounds, drums) and Elsa Van Der Linden (sax). Ajay Saggar (KCS, Deutsche Ashram and Bhajan Bhoy) mixed it and mastering ninja Anthony Chapman worked his magic.
Out Of Season covers a lot of ground, from cleansing skronk to jittery post punk to unsettling soundscapes. Watt’s spoken vocals ride above the often anxious settings, intoning a series of unnerving and surreal stories full of nightmare logic and dream-noir atmosphere. It’s a long way from Rations but then it seems the Ivan The Terrible modus operandi is that there is no Ivan The Terrible modus operandi.