Dust Bin The mysterious Virna Lindt returns
posted by June 18 at 15:49 PMon
I love women who can’t sing. I don’t mean the mute, or the tone-deaf, but the type of artist the French politely call a diseuse, i.e. a performer who recites lyrics over music, rather than flat out singing (although when they sing, it is flat). Vocalists who do not even attempt to carry a tune – even when it may be as close as the piano accompaniment – because it is just too cumbersome, and, really a girl can’t be expected to hold anything heavier than a cocktail in these shoes.
Terry has written before about my very favorite diseuse, Cristina. But in the madcap ’80s, Ms. Monet Zilkha was but one of a clutch of like-minded dramatic dames who cut sought-after albums. Not long ago, LTM Recordings reissued the work of Hermine, a former tightrope aerialist and colleague of The Flying Lizards. Now they continue delving into this dubious tradition with expanded editions of the work of Swedish oddball Virna Lindt.
Lindt recorded two albums, Shiver (1983) and Play/Record (1985), for the Compact Organization. Like New York’s ZE label, Compact was all about mixing sophistication and kitsch (their best-known artist was Northern soul torch singer and beehive model Mari Wilson). And Virna Lindt epitomized that mix. Her songs are ripe with allusions to international espionage and Bergman films, her vocals whispered atop backing tracks of cool jazz, sound collage, and vintage soundtrack gestures. If you are the sort of music lover who can name every Bond girl, this is the stuff for you.
LTM is also rolling out a remastered edition of the compilation A Young Person’s Guide to Compact, featuring the non-LP Lindt singles “Model Agent” and “Young & Hip,” as well as ditties by Wilson, Tot Taylor (who wrote and produced with Lindt), Shake/Shake, and others. All three of these releases hit stores on August 20. Something to sing about? Hardly. And that’s the beauty of it.