(Last Visible Dog)

A man and a dog living in a van and traveling through the desert is already an inspiring concept per se. That the man also records on a 4-track cassette machine his improvisations on instruments such as harmonium, toy piano, glockenspiel, oscillator, Farfisa minicompact organ and ukulele adds further spice to the recipe. Throw in a drunken Robert Wyatt cover (“Sea song”), a series of clear references to Nico (“meet me on the desert shore”, repeated in “Desert song”, plus the main instrument’s choice) and serve with a bit of tape distortion and lo-fi attitude, and you’ve just had a faint idea of what Eyes Like Saucers does. Still, there are additional surprises; one for all, the fact that several moments of the harmonium-based tracks, built on repetitive washes and hypnotizing, if irregular phrases, had me thinking about a Moondog/Philip Glass mix (I hope that Mr. Glass won’t sue, even if ELS’ pieces are certainly more interesting than most of his music from the last 20 years or so). The title track features the protagonist playing a majestic-sounding Wurlitzer Theatre pipe organ (it saturates the mix, but you’d been already warned) and can easily be considered as the album’s most engrossing moment. I don’t exactly know how it happened but this record, which in other days I could have foolishly judged as a minor item, made me feel so trapped in a still-minded vicious circle that I suspect that something magic hides behind this man and his canine comrade. I must discover what it is.