James Ferraro

‘Don’t expect “bands” or straightforward “songs”. Just leave musical logic at the door and have some fun,’ advises Edinburgh promoter Nick Herd, the man behind grassroots endeavour Braw Gigs.

He’s referring to the upcoming show from press-shy underground idol James Ferraro, (aka Edward Flex, Pan Dolphinic Dawn, Lamborghini Crystal and countless other emblematic alter-egos), and his like-minded Skaters accomplice Spencer Clark, (aka Monopoly Child Star Searchers, Charles Berlitz, Black Joker and … you get the picture).

I’m not expecting ‘bands’ or ‘songs’. I’m expecting palm trees, geometric blue cocktails, hamburgers, fluorescent signs, and a moustache affixed to Magnum P.I. Is that too much to ask?

‘Well, Spencer’s Monopoly guise is reminiscent of his Vodka Soap material,’ offers Herd, realigning my fantasy. ‘Tropical tape delay and rhythmic keyboard syncopations’ will be the Californian’s order of the day, apparently.

‘James’ solo material flies into all sorts of different avenues,’ he continues. ‘Pick up Last American Hero and jam that: it sounds like Ry Cooder playing slide on a beat-up boom-box.’

What it sounds like is Miami Vice on a badly-tuned telly coming up through the floorboards – that is to say, brilliant – and for this I blame (or thank) the phenomenon known as ‘hypnagogic pop’. Rangers, Ducktails and Ferraro himself have come to illustrate the sub-genre’s mutant 80s pop-culture nostalgia and chromatic DIY aesthetic. Does its currency help sell a show like this?

‘I’ve never used “hypnagogic pop” to describe anything,’ smiles Herd. ‘I take it at face value. Good music is good music.’

Roxy Art House, Edinburgh, Mon 14 Jun; 13th Note, Glasgow, Tues 15 Jun

James Ferraro and Heatsick

Underground composer/musician from New York who records under various pseudonyms and specialises in limited releases on cassette and CDR. Plus Latino- and Italo-inflected house sounds from Heatsick, aka Steven Warwick.

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