erasing clouds

Voodoo Popeye, Tubed Sellotape

reviewed by anna battista

Imagine a guy living in a faraway working class suburb in Belgrade. Imagine he's into music, but he hasn't got any friends in the music business who can help him to become the next big thing. The guy starts making tapes, cheap stuff. He might not be that wealthy to produce a proper record, but he's got a secret weapon, witty lyrics. Little by little, the guy becomes a sensation, his tracks are played on the radio, on TV stations. A record label tracks him down and signs him. He seems to have made his dream come true, but rather than betraying his ideals, forgetting where he came from and turning into a selfish star, he becomes increasingly more original and keeps on doing whatever he wants to do. This might sound like an incredible story, but it's actually Voodoo Popeye's story. This artist with a funny name who lived in a suburb in Belgrade, became quite popular in his country and, even the contract with a local record label, Komuna, didn't restrain him from making his own music or preserving his identity and ideas.

Voodoo Popeye's latest album is called Tubed Sellotape and reserves quite a few surprises to the listener. First of all, it contains tracks in Latin and Hungarian, Chinese, Arabic, Czech, Serbian, Russian, Gypsy, Swedish, Shuona, Greek, Spanish, Italian, French and obviously English. If that's not enough for you to define this album as eclectic and a bit crazy, please bear in mind that sometimes Voodoo Popeye's tracks are just dialogues, monologues or instrumental pieces. "Children's Influence on Drugs and Youth" is a turbodance piss-taking track; "Tarantula", a mix of Arabian music and crazy drums; "Sweet Dreams & Company", an absolutely nonsensical dialogue taking place in a sports shop, while "Francesca" is the funny story of the woman of the title and her vibrator. For those of you who want to relax there's "Paraffino", a Spanish tasting experience, the pure trip hop of "My Hobby" and a final crazy dialogue between a boy and a girl, "Turtle Rain" which ends up with the boy digging the body of a buried friend out to show the girl a turtle-shaped tattoo on the butt of his dead friend, the whole while beatific music, then hellish tam tams, then wind blowing and finally rain falling can be heard in the background.

Voodoo Popeye has got a subversive approach to music, this artist is a sonically pure psycho punk. For those of you who love his stuff there is a good piece of news: Voodoo Popeye has written his first novel which will soon be published by Rende, a Serbian publishing house owned by Vladimir Arsenijevic, one of the best and most appreciated new writers in Serbia. For those of you who hate him there is very bad news: Voodoo Popeye might be a nutcase, but he's here to stay. I'd get mighty worried if I were you.

Issue 16, October 2003

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