Release Date: 17/05/2019
For Lebanese indie label Ruptured’s 25th release, influential British guitarist MIKE COOPER collaborates with HIFIKLUB, a French instrumental ensemble from Toulon, for an impressive musical reading of Robert J. Flaherty’s silent film “Man of Aran”.
Since 2007, French quartet Hifiklub has been building a protean work that evolves through an impressive series of collaborations. The band’s catalog is wide and far-reaching, and includes more than 130 collaborations with such renowned musicians as Lee Ranaldo, Alain Johannes, Jad Fair, Fatso Jetson, R. Stevie Moore, Barre Phillips, Jean-Marc Montera, Kramer, Ikue Mori, Alan Licht, and Nels Cline.
Their most recent album, “E Lisboa”, consists of collaborations with experimental musicians from Portugal and was released in January 2019.For the past 50 years Mike Cooper has been an international musical explorer, performing and recording, solo and in a number of inspired groupings and a variety of genres.
Initially a folk-blues guitarist and singer songwriter, his work has diversified to include improvised and electronic music, live music for silent films, radio art and sound installations. He is also a music journalist, writing features for magazines, particularly on Pacific music and musicians, a visual artist, film and video maker, collector of Hawaiian shirts and appears on more than 70 records to date.
In 2017, Hifiklub got in touch with Mike Cooper to record (and eventually perform) a live soundtrack to controversial filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty's silent movie “Man of Aran”. Flaherty was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature-length documentary film, “Nanook of the North”, in 1922.
Following the success of this film, he continued the development of this new genre of narrative documentary with “Moana” (1926), set in the South Seas, and “Man of Aran” (1934), filmed in Ireland's Aran Islands. Flaherty is considered the "father" of both the documentary and the ethnographic film.
When devising the lyrics for his performance, Cooper dug into Irish writer John Millington Synge’s book “The Aran Islands”, published in 1907. This book provided the initial inspiration for Flaherty’s film. Cooper cut up texts from the book and sang them for the record, while relying on a different set of texts from the same source, for the live performance.
It was Cooper who contacted Lebanese indie label Ruptured for the release of the album; no stranger to the Lebanese experimental scene and its various key players, Cooper has already recorded 2 albums in Beirut, “Radio Paradise” and “Light On A Wall”, released by Lebanese label Johnny Kafta’s Kids Menu and Italian label Backwards, respectively.“Aran Stories” is released in a limited edition of 400 copies.