Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay – Snake Charmer (1983)

Snake Charmer is a collaborative EP between musicians Jah Wobble, The Edge and Holger Czukay released in 1983 through Island Records.
Too much. Too many and too much. There are times when it is, indeed, possible to have too much of a good thing, and this is one of those times. The Snake Charmer “mini LP” brings together what one would think to be a fantasy lineup of experimental-pop artists; Jah Wobble, the Edge, Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit, Animal, and François Kevorkian. The result is lead-thick and equally bland. All of the contributor’s parts are well-played but good luck trying to latch onto anything specific, with every element vying desperately for a place in these over-dense and overproduced mixes. The title track, “Snake Charmer,” could have been okay if left well enough alone — but no. Wobble‘s signature repetitive and plodding bass, the Edge‘s trademark chiming, delayed guitar, and Jaki Liebezeit‘s creative drum and percussion work are utterly buried beneath Czukay‘s wheezing dictaphone samples, french horn, guitar, and piano. On top of that, club elder-statesman François Kevorkian piles yet more polyrhythmic electro-nonsense, climaxing with what can only be described as the ‘anti-‘Don’t-Fear-the-Reaper’ cowbell; an element so unnecessary and distracting that it threatens to become the song’s featured instrument. With all of the well-mannered hand-shaking, back-patting, and tea fetching going on in the studio, the collective never got around to picking a leader and, thus this pilot-less collection of tunes plods diligently ahead, but to no specific destination.


1.  “Snake Charmer”  (Czukay, Kevorkian, Marland, Wobble) – 6:12
2.  “Hold on to Your Dreams”   (The Edge, Kevorkian, Marland, Russell, Wobble) – 8:38
3.  “It Was a Camel”   (Czukay, Liebezeit, Marland, Murray, Wobble) – 5:45
4.  “Sleazy”   (Animal, Walker, Wobble) – 3:46
5.  “Snake Charmer” (Reprise)   (Czukay, Kevorkian, Marland, Wobble) – 6:54


Additional musicians and production

Released: 1983
Recorded at: The Fallout Shelter, London
Genre: Post-punk
Length: 31:15

Label – Island Records

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