Willis Earl Beal: Acousmatic Sorcery

Willis Earl Beal has the soulful voice that could easily gain him mainstream acceptance. Yet the cult figure whose history as a vagrant busker is well-known by now insists on staying on the outside with debut Acousmatic Sorcery. The record is a collection of recordings he’d made during his undiscovered years; using only a broken cassette-based karaoke machine and cheap microphone. This is lo-fi that would make lo-fi fans reconsider how lo-fi their favourite acts are.

Beal’s music immediately recalls other outsider musicians – the guttural growl of ‘Take Me Away’ is reminiscent of Tom Waits, spoken word closer ‘Masquerade’ could be a Captain Beefheart track, and the whispery emotions of ‘Evening’s Kiss’ is Daniel Johnston-esque in its ordinary feelings. The songs don’t always work, but all show promises of what could come after.

LISTEN TO: ‘Evening’s Kiss’ ‘Monotony’ ‘Take Me Away’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Tom Waits, Daniel Johnston, Captain Beefheart