To describe an album as funny would, I think, normally be a criticism, especially in improv circles, but there is no other way for me to approach ‘Dig a Ditch and Get In’. Gail Brand and Morgen Guberman have created something special; two great artists in an inspired pairing. It is a work of deranged and hilarious brilliance. Gail Brand is a trombonist who has performed in many settings, in particular good form on releases with Mark Sanders; and has also appeared on Stewart Lee’s BBC sketch show, memorably chasing an apple buying man on an enraged shop-smashing rampage. Morgan Guberman is an improviser who operates across a range of instruments but, on this release, contributes vocals, mouth noise, and the occasional burp.
Opener ‘Skoo Kash’ is one of the highlights; Guberman sounds like an enormously drunk Tom Waits, hollering nonsensical phrases about “jelly jam” and “shitting on the sidewalk” at passing traffic with his trousers around his ankles; Brand mirrors him in discrete short enclosed flurries as if trying to move him along and get him somewhere without actually giving away that she’s with him. The rest of the album is no less brilliant; Guberman covers Mutley sniggers, breathless gasps, operatic odes to “monkey beans” and disconcerting growls; Brand in turn soaks the proceedings in quick natural responses, sometimes a short parp or warble seems to underline something in the vocals but at other points she drags the mad jibbering in her wake as she launches into a short jazzy riff or bluesy drone.
‘Dig a Ditch and Get In’ is more than worthy of your attention and I have returned to it repeatedly. It is fun, fiercely intelligent and fearless in its pursuit of an almost Dada-like absurdity.
Buy the album here. Do it!