Already back in 1985, Diana Rogerson was releasing her first LP, The Inevitable Chrystal Belle Scrodd Record, an album so demented, so unsafe and so deconstructed that it has remained so even by today’s standards. Uncomfortably sitting right in between genres such as post-indus-punk and magic schrooms western vomit, I wouldn’t say this was exactly my favorite type of musical experience, though I would never hear anything even remotely close to it ever, which is always positive no matter what you think or feel about the music itself. Twenty-two years later, after a handful of Nurse With Wound collaborations and concerts, Stapleton’s “behind the curtain” lady is back as Bad Diana, now exploring many realms other than the ones she had been messing with in the eighties.
Much more sedately ambient in nature, yet also touching upon post-swing and quasi jazz rumblings at times, The Lights Are On But No-One’s Home obviously is more akin to the slowing down contemplation of something both strange and beautiful. First song Behind The Curtain of the Sun starts things off with a slightly broken spoken word ambient introduction, somehow effortlessly striving for some sort of unsaid malaise or tension, in that it is not what she says, but whe she doesn’t say, which turns out to be uneasy at first. The tone is set – much atmosphere too. Cupboardie Re-Nude keeps things morphing and each time I listen to its bass minimal groove, it feels deep and out of this world. Then we have Asphalt Kiss, an Ash Ra Temple unique reworking, which revolves around the angelic, humming “flowers must die” words pronounced by a candy sweet singing Bad Diana over a most cinematic, darkly blossomed soundtrack.
It’s hard to say wether this was Rogerson’s intention or not, but this record is so much more cohesive and flowing through than everything she’s done before. Nothing feels out of place, nothing is forced into the equation; all the songs are related and growing out of each others, as there’s this feeling of continuity throughout. Remember that both Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound) and Matt Waldron (irr. app. (ext.)), two extremely talented experimental artists, are backing her up on each of the songs. Having Colin Potter behind the engineering board also probably shows off in the sound deepness and the professional production in general: everything is contextualized, every detail can be heard, and an headphone experience of the music is a must in this case, not only music-wise, but also to feel Diana Rogerson’s voice tones, overtones, undercurrents and bio-vibrations. She’s all over the place, but in a most hidden, esoteric way. For now, let me call her Miss Golden Throat.
Mother, another short exo-tribal excursion into drifting percussions, unconsciously moving forth, brings us to the melancholia-cloudy epic Chant d’Amour/De Mort, the longest cut on here. Using what sounds like overly stretched guitar notes orbiting into endless aether, this last song slowly builds up to a massive chanting drone, where it comes back to the delicate guitars into which Diana wonders out loud her very own face-to-face speeches poetry. Very touching stuff so to speak. It clearly is a perfect way to take the album to an endless end per se, as it leaves you in a reflexive and contemplative mood by the time it reaches its last seconds. Beautiful, magick, hair-rising, visually poetic and reverberating, welcome to Bad Diana’s thousands worlds of wonders.
For if you think you are free, you cannot escape.
01 – Behind The Curtain Of The Sun
02 – Cupboardie Re-Nude
03 – Asphalt Kiss
04 – Mirage Man
05 – Notes From The Underground To A Crazy Girl
06 – Mother
07 – Chant D’Amour/De Mort