Friday, March 6, 2009

Y. Bhekhirst - Hot in the Airport

8/10

Since I need some extra time to decide which artist's albums I'm going to review next, I've decided to kick off a series of reviews of albums that were their artists' sole releases. First up is this album by the mysterious "Y. Bhekhirst".
Y. Bhekhirst is mysterious because no one knows much about him. "Bhekhirst" seems to be an alias for one Jose Hugo Diaz Guzman. He has registered a lot of songs with the US Copyright Office, but "Hot in the Airport" is the only one which seems to have seen the light of day. It starts off with "Dalmar," a weird instrumental where the guitar, bass and drums are all out of sync with each other. It's speculated that Bhekhirst/Guzman played all the instruments himself and dubbed them over each other; this can be done quite well (see the first 3/4 of Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything?), but Bhekhirst was no production wizard and it sounds like a mess as a result.
And then there are the vocals. Not since Triumph the Insult Comic Dog have I heard a voice which divides people so much on what kind of accent it is; I've heard people claim that the singer sounded Indian, German, French, Spanish or Latin American. (Given Bhekhirst's presumed real name, it's probably one of the latter two.)
The songs are very repetitive, but have an undeniable charm. The real crowd-pleaser is the title track, with Bhekhirst crooning "Toni-i-i-i-ight" over again in a hilarious way, and the way the track seems to start over again two minutes in for no good reason. There's some weird mixing in some tracks; in "I Run My Car," the bass is front and center while the guitar is nearly inaudible. And "I Will Sing" features Bhekhirst singing "I will do anything for love" in a manner shockingly similar to the similarly-titled Meat Loaf song (which wasn't released until 1993, 7 years after Hot in the Airport.) A few tracks are just boring, like the 7-minute album closer "Every Time I", but most are hilarious in some way or another. Fans of outsider music shouldn't pass up this gem.

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