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The Wisdom Of Harry

The Wisdom of Harry is not a Harry Potter tribute group or anything like that, in case you were wondering. Actually the wise man here is Pete Astor, who achieved some notoriety in the '80s and early '90s as the guiding force behind the British indie pop group The Weather Prophets. In the mid-'90s, prompted by his admiration for some of the spacier, more ethereal artists on the acclaimed Wurlitzer Jukebox label (then home to Mogwai and Broadcast, among others), he began creating some peculiar, cinematic atmospheric pop recordings of his own under the Wisdom of Harry moniker. These he released on a number of obscure labels in limited edition, vinyl-only pressings. When they garnered widespread praise, he compiled them onto a full album, Stars of Super 8, which Matador released in '99. After that record's release, Astor passed his time performing with such likeminded musicians as Cornelius and Andrew Weatherall, before going back into the studio to record another record, House of Binary. The Wisdom of Harry is strange magical stuff, almost intoxicating in its hands-down weirdness and cinematic slinkiness. From House of Binary, "Coney Island of Your Mind" -- an appropriation of the title of a famous Lawrence Ferlenghetti poem -- is a marvelous bit of pop alchemy, a quirky, opiated number that gets in your head and sticks there.

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