As we discussed the new Steven Jones + Logan Sky album yesterday, where Jan Linton enhanced the program on several tracks with his stellar eBow stylings [as well as his Zhongruan playing], it seemed like the perfect time to catch up with what Linton himself was up to lately, as I’d been advised in December of last year that a new EP was nigh. As I’ve been juggling a lot of plates lately in the covid-19 delerium we live in, I finally found the time to buy a copy recently and am deeply chagrined that it’s taken this long to hear this exceptional work. Mea culpa! Let’s get right into it without delay.
Jan Linton + Matthew Seligman: King Hong CD-R EP 
- King Hong [Radio Mix]
- Low Down
- Plant/Metal [Heavenly Version]
- Low Down [Matthew Intro]
- King Hong
The first track hit with maximum impact as the dazzling “King Hong” erupted out of the speakers. It was a dynamic slice of fretless bass Art Funk with a clattering, organic rhythmic base full of shaker voodoo. And it featured Linton’s vocals reaching for full Ferry lilt ca. “Flesh + Blood” for an insouciance at odds with the intense groove. That the track was a scant 3:13 makes me pine for a 12″ version that easily scraped eight minutes. The cut was referred to as the “radio mix” so I’m hopeful that one day we’ll hear the unfettered masterpiece. This is the best sound of this kind I’ve heard since “Ship of Fools” by Explorers. Fans of that caliber of roiling Art Rock intensity would do well to immediately get this EP for this track alone! Sample below!
“Low Down” was a more delicate instrumental of a loping, almost Morricone sounding rhythm and the entrance of ambient harmonica a minute did little to dispel the cinematic vibe. Then the stage set further by the stinging eBow guitar and string synths, the main theme came into play when the piano joined in, delivering a tech Western sort of track that I’d not heard the likes of since Colourbox were in full flower.
The synth-led “Famagusta” had a subtle, yet powerful presence with an ever-so-slight dissonance on the harmonic leads to make them contrast with the sturdier rhythms and guitars. The Arabic scale second movement with droning synths and faster tempos was a bolt from the blue as the song reached its fevered peak, only to deliver a false ending and coda that was downright unsettling. The ambient beauty of “Plant Metal [Heavenly Version]” revisited a cut from the last Linton/Seligman EP with a contemplative mix that was even more pastoral and lovely.
I find myself recently asking myself the question: “where has Jan Linton been all of my life?” He’s like the best kept secret just waiting to be discovered. A one man Art Rock player who can seemingly do it all, and his recordings with Matthew Seligman released posthumously, in recent months have given us an insight into the fascinating music that Seligman created when no one else was paying the bills. The DL is yours for $7.00 and the CD-R EP [$13.00] comes with two extensive liner notes as well as two bonus tracks. One of which is a longer “King Hong” which means I will need that CD-R! Purchase below if you’ve read this far.