Milky, "Travels with a Donkey"

Let's talk about Momus.

A little.

There's no obvious way to crack into his body of work; you can begin anywhere and proceed to draw a map around that starting point. The essential aerial-view basics, however: Momus is Nick Currie, and while he has mostly recorded under that mononym for over four decades, he began his musical career in the Happy Family, one of 4AD's first signings.

I initially came across him while digitally digging through crates of Shibuya-kei records as a teen; I was enamored with his writing and production for Kahimi Karie and POiSON GiRL FRiEND, amongst others. He slid sublimely into that biome—Burt Bacharach blossoms splashed across Serge Gainsbourg grasses under kitschy exotica electronica canopies.

At some point in the 90s, he fell into a dramatic, emotional, ultimately fraught tangle with a teenage British-Bangladeshi girl named Shazna Nessa, daughter of a "London-based Bangladeshi restaurant and factory owner," though what exactly transpired is unclear, in part because only the Daily Report tabloid covered it.

At any rate, it was with Shazna that he started a project called Milky, and it is their one and only album, Travels with a Donkey, that marks the beginning of my journey with Momus. I'm sure I came upon it either through the Darla website (he had an imprint, American Patchwork, that was distributed by them) or one of the many music blogs with an ear turned to Japan that I followed. A delightfully sweet, twee record that's as much a children's lullabies collection as it is a bedroom pop demo tape.

Shazna was also in an easy-listening lounge-pop act called Maria Napoleon that released an LP in 2000, and that is also worth a listen.