Shedding provides Connor Bell with the freedom that only a solo project can.
His most recent concoction, What God Doesn’t Bless, You Won’t Love; What You Don’t Love, The Child Won’t Know, mixes electronics, recordings of birds, samples of Eric Dolphy’s jazz flute work and live drums by former Parlour bandmate Joey Yates.
Bell explains the three-track, 40-minute disc with a Dolphy quote about playing flute alongside birds outside his window. The end result is a record that, at its best, sounds like the strange sensation of listening in on Dolphy co-writing songs with giant birds on some sort of astral plane. At worst, it’s someone shooting birds out of the sky with poison darts fired from a flute. Either way, the record straddles the line between intriguing and confounding and begs for repeat listens.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Connor Bell: Things like funding, spaces to pursue the craft or all-ages venues would be quite neat. Then again, perhaps the lack of government support is what makes American art so vibrant … the camaraderie of a small community of people who share a passion and understand the struggle that is central to an artist’s life, a small community where creativity and imagination are valued rather than ignored. But, since this is supposed to be a democracy, I suppose I’d give artists what they wanted … money, drugs, art supplies, whatever … just take it all and don’t say this mayor didn’t give you anything!
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
CB: Elephant Micah is an incredible singer and songwriter who is criminally underrated around here. Mmm … Ronnie Mack and Foreign Oranges (formerly Instant Camera) are two of the finest rock machines, and neither gets much credit. Keenan Lawler, the Sapat crew and Les Debutantes’ inventive sonics.
LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
CB: A good Indian meal would be my hope — spicy, subtle, complex and varied. It takes a little time to get used to, but then you grow to really appreciate its place in the lovely world of food.
LEO: Tell me about one of your favorite works of art aside from your medium.
CB: The Mogao Caves in the Xinjiang region of China is an immense cave system with religious manuscripts and art that accumulated from around the 4th century onward. The murals are all incredibly beautiful and cover hundreds of thousands of square feet of cave walls with religious imagery. What’s most amazing is the diversity of religions and artistic styles represented. They never cease to inspire me. Also worth consideration: “The Jerk,” Knut Hamsun, Arthur Rimbaud, “Fishing with John,” and the Rudolph Christmas claymation.
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
CB: Mustarrrrd? … Yellooooow? … FIRE?! … (chk chk chk) Yeah. Yeah.
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