One of punk’s omnipresents and with that one of its most perennially innovatory practitioners, Mike Watt is of course a man worthy of utmost reverence. He co-founded the Minutemen, fIREHOSE, makes up one of two in dos, and has lately had The Stooges’ lower end covered. His bass has shuddered ATP to its core more times than most onsite stomachs have grumbled, and now he returns with his most intriguing (and I’d go so far as to say momentarily ingenius) project in yonkers, with that being Il Sogno del Marinaio. Translated to Seaman’s Dream, Watt this time lines up alongside guitarist Stefano Pilia and drummer Andrea Belfi – a couple Italians he first encountered way back before the naughties became whatever it is this contemporary decade shall forever more be glorified as, and their first work I happened upon just so happened to be Partisan Song. A taught and rambunctious post-rock instrumental type, it comes replete with blaring horns and an unwavering sense of defiance that, were it to soundtrack any seafaring endeavour, would surely unfurl itself as the backdrop to mutiny. It’s as though the explosive commotion of two once silent ships meeting in the night – one captained by Marshall Allen and t’other by Efrim Menuck – with Watt and his two amichetti feverishly swinging between the two over choppy rhythms and clashing time signatures.
Though better yet is the captivatingly entitled Funanori Jig – that tranquil calm of the morning after, prior to the stormy deluge of rum-engendered regret getting a chance to gather its shit together. Infused with subtle hints of the asiatic, it’s a crystalline recording at the palpitating heart of which are Watt’s scampering bass lines. The scoundrels scale the board, before clattering into some agitated steelpan skylarking. The armada passing into Caribbean waters, it’s a bit like Battles and pretty hysterical but brilliant at the very same time, if unexpectedly so. Like finding yourself marooned on a deserted, isolated dystopia only to find that every coconut shot contains finely distilled intoxicant.