ISSUE 13   FALL 2002
page 10



In all the history of noise and performance art, this is the first time I know of somebody doing just a straight food-chewing record. I mean, oddballs like Henri Chopin and Elklink have done records that were more or less all swallowing, but as far as I know food was never involved. The back cover, complete with seal (reproduced below), is really all you need to know, and that the people we're hearing cook and eat the food is Roger Rimada of Monotract and Emil W. Hagstrom of Cock ESP. Because the cooking and chewing of food makes noise, this is a noise record, and as such, really a nice listen. The sounds are all harsh, and bring to mind Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, but Carnitas offers a much lower-key type of theater. Nobody's slapping anybody around; they just sit there and chew. Ah, but the violence is there, under the surface; after all, they're rending cooked animal flesh apart with their teeth, chewing it into a pulp, and then gulping it down into their guts.


Iovae is Ron Ostovich, who plays electronics for Death Beam, and his Quatervois release features some pretty austere harsh academic shit. Reminds me of that David Tudor Three Works for Live Electronics CD which I hardly ever listen to but totally respect. (Will NEVER sell back to a record store.) I could see Quatervois treatin' me the same way; this is some harsh process music. Really puts me on the edge of my seat. It's more academic than a noise record, while still being every bit as harsh as a noise record. Right when you start to wonder if you're gonna be able to hang, the crazy grinding stops and it's all quiet except for what sounds like a plate getting broken every few seconds, in alternating speakers, and then track is over at seven minutes. Cool! When I say I'm sick of noise records, what I really mean is 30-minute or longer noise tracks with no narrative whatsoever. Since it's hard to do narrative over 30 minutes, why not try 30-minute collection of five or ten shorter tracks, with some variety of approach? That's what Iovae does. Por ejemplo, track three on here may offer more grinding, but it's a different kind of grinding. Variety. Narrative. Ah.... Good too is the last track, less than two minutes of "Machine Gun Assortment courtesy of Knob Creek Range, Fort Knox, Kentucky." Non-academic academic southern noise compositions which contain an allusion to quality bourbon! Go, fight, win!

After all this time I'd never really heard pre-Dread Wolf Eyes, when they were just a duo or even just Nate Young solo. This is duo stuff from 1998 and 1999. A lot of their techniques are already in place, such as the 'slow doom-beat with crunchy glitchy weird sounds bubbling throughout' technique, but you can tell it's 'early' Wolf Eyes. It more of a pastiche than an original, like they're still borrowing directly from hardcore and industrial culture (Negative Approach and Throbbing Gristle, respectively, as the legend has it), with a little bit of soul and quirk in there too (this time via Prince and Ralph Records). Track 9 "Give It Up" is filled with quirky synth-type sounds and could almost pass for the Residents if it wasn't for the shadowy Nate Young vocals. A newer version of the same song appears as Track 2, with the quirk gone. Track 10 "Imagine Yourself As Me" actually has a house groove, along with weird vocals that veer towards what could be called 'poetry reading', and bar-band rock guitar that sounds like it could be on a mid-period Sub Pop release. On other tracks they sound like Nautical Almanac (and I'm not talking about Track 8, "intermission," which actually is by Nautical Almanac, and marks where the new stuff ends and the reissue of the first EP begins), but hey, isn't Wolf Eyes a Nautical Almanac offshoot anyway? Even on the earliest stuff, you can hear that shadowy New Suicide sound, and how it's going to blossom soon into something great -- but, unlike Dread, the best reason to own this record might be the cover art, an incredible cover painting of Nate and Aaron chilling at some tropical cove. The back cover looks good too, in that mystique-ridden black-on-white Hanson mode.

Wolf Eyes w/Spykes marks the transition from the Wolf Eyes of Wolf Eyes to the Wolf Eyes of Dread, the pivotal moment being when Spykes (a/k/a John Olson) joined the band. And indeed, on this CD-R the amazing sound of Dread is almost completely in place. Track two (no titles on my copy) is a 15-minute EPIC that's almost better than even the long tracks on Dread. It starts with scary loud space improv a la Cluster 71. It's really kind of proggy like that. This might be an early version of that air raid thing they were opening their late 2001 shows with. And, just like live, after a couple minutes a big crushing beat comes in. Definitely good loud. When vocals eventually come in, they're rather calm and sparse, while deep electro-bombs dive in between his phrases. It's killer, and like I said, it could've replaced either of those long tracks on Dread without weakening the album.
       (And those two long tracks on Dread are good, in fact that might be what makes Dread so 'best': the sequencing is so good. I mean, come on, starting with "I'll Burn Your House Down," a three-minute punk rock song, and then sprawling way out for twelve spaced-out evil electro-prog minutes of "Desert of Glue/Wretched Hog," and then mirroring that same structure on side two with two more songs, the first one long and the second one short. And, could there be a better possible title for a 12-minute electro-prog epic than "Desert of Glue/Wretched Hog"?)
        Anyway, this long ass track two on w/Spykes, at the seven minute mark, goes into a super-sparse swallowed-mic Chopin-backed-by-the-Beast-People section, and then the bass sirens come back in, and then a super-slow and broken beat comes in, and by around the twelve minute mark the beat has worked itself back up into total pounding hardcore, with tones diving all around the pounding beat and the haunted vocals. The whole album is good (and brief: 6 tracks @ just under 40 minutes), but this track alone is worth the price of admission.
       Jean Street is the band-name for Wolf Eyes lead singer Etan Gnuoy solo, and if the catalog number is an indication, this was recorded just after Wolf Eyes w/Spykes. Again, it practically sounds just like the whole band, and again like a warm-up for Dread, except there are no extended electro-jams, in favor of an explicit pop sense: almost every track has vocals, and none of the (eight -- a very good number) tracks are longer than five minutes. (Okay, there's one that's 7:26.) The first song is a classic, with a backbeat you can't lose and Nate spitting "It's sick!" every now and then for a chorus of sorts. Track two has an even doper chorus: "Ha ha ha ha ha." There's more hits to follow, one of which even gave me a lowdown creepin' hip hop vibe, right down to the vocals. Maybe it was track five? Six? (My copy has no song titles.) Let me check ahead here....ah, it was track five, with its actual kick and snare drum program.

ABRUPTUM: Vi Sonus Veris Nigrae Malitiaes CD (FULL MOON PRODUCTIONS)
The inside of the record says "This album is dedicated to 'Evil', who could not participate in the recording." I thought that was really strange that a black metal artist would say that Evil could not participate in a recording -- talk about an admission of defeat in front of a jury of your peers -- until I found out that Abruptum is normally a duo, a guy named It and a guy named Evil, and the guy named Evil really just couldn't make it for this recording. Therefore, I'm bummed, because I finally spent some money at Metal Haven (one of Chicago's finest specialty stores, at Belmont & Broadway) in order to finally check out the legendary Abruptum, and instead of some raging metal I end up with this half-assed one-man overdubbed improvised shit. I guess I just like my metal to at least have a rhythm section, you know?
       So anyway, this is supposed to be a seance. Overly ominous vocals, and what are probably tapes from something like "Carmina Burana," are faded in and out of the mix with a chilling enough effect, but it still doesn't add any narrative to the half-assed improv-plod behind it. Okay, around the 8 minute mark someone, It himself, speaks one line in a very deep, evil voice. And...oh shit!...those banshee-like vocals a few seconds later get REALLY loud. It's like listening to Whitehouse and getting to that 'somebody go turn the stereo down already before we attract too much attention here' point. So anyway, where is this going? It'd be acceptable if this improv-plod faded out right about now, and another track started in which It/Abruptum got down to the business of playing something that shreds, but no such luck. It just gets quiet again for more nodding-out feedback and crude guitar 'prov. Come on, It! Give me a beat! A rhythm of any kind, please??
       Oh well, it's only one track. If Mr. It has any sense, it'll fade out before the twenty minute mark, and this album can be an EP, with at least curiosity status. Here, I'll hit the "time" button on the player and find out just how much time is left here........hoshit!!! 51 more minutes!!! Now why in the HELL (no pun intended) would someone go and feedback-noodle like this for an hour straight and put it out on CD. Even the Dead C wouldn't do that. I can only assume that It/Abruptum was on a serious heroin nod while he did this, or otherwise so incapacitated, by some kind of ritualistic derangement of the senses in praise of evil, that he had no muscle ability to really even pick up his guitar, let alone play it.
      Nope, sorry folks, I don't think I'll be listening to all of this one. The painted portrait of It on the back cover rules, but the music really doesn't live up to the warning message next to the painting: "Remember that Abruptum is the audial essence of pure black evil and listening to it is at your own risk." If this is pure black evil, then what Sonic Youth said is true: Satan is Boring. I have a feeling the Emperor disc I bought will be a lot better.

EMPEROR: In The Nightside Eclipse CD (CANDLELIGHT)
Yep, it's a lot better. Abruptum may have reminded me that "Satan is Boring" but Emperor remind me of the Louvin Brothers' message that "Satan is Real." Or at least Emperor is a real metal band, rather than a incapacitated one-man improv artist. Emperor actually have a backbeat, blurring buzzing speed-riffs with harbinger-of-doom chorales and keyboard-aura that makes the embers glow. And the lead vocalist has a fine black whisper-scream style. According to AMG, this was recorded in "the Memorial Hall of Edvard Grieg." It sounds like it was recorded in some portentous mystical hall, I'll agree. Also, that guy Mortiis, you know, the one who has a crush on Rocki Roads and had himself surgically altered to look like an evil troll? He was the original bass player, co-writes almost every song on here, and "has been credited with the band's initial interest in Norwegian folk" (AMG again), and those classic folk melodies and moods are the secret ingredient that makes black metal so epic and mystical. That, and the lyrics are imagistic, extremely atmospheric, and melancholic. Contrary to popular consensus, there is really nothing cartoonish about any of this. Just check out "Into the Infinity of Thoughts": "As the Darkness creeps over the Northern mountains of Norway and the silence reach the woods, i awake and rise... Into the night I wander, like many nights before, and like in my dreams, but centuries ago. Under the moon, under the trees. Into the Infinity of Darkness, beyond the light of a new day, into the frozen nature chilly, beyond the warmth of the dying sun. Hear the whispering of the wind, the Shadows calling... I gaze into the moon which grants me visions these twelve full moon nights of the year, and for each night the light of the holy disciples fade away. Weaker and weaker, one by one. I gaze into the moon which makes my mind pure as crystal lakes, my eyes cold as the darkest winter nights, by yet there is a flame inside. It guides me into the dark shadows beyond this world, into the infinity of thoughts... thoughts of upcoming reality." And here's where it gets Evil: "In the name of the almighty Emperor I will ride the Lands in pride, carrying the Blacksword at hand, in warfare. I will grind my hatred upon the loved ones. Despair will be brought upon the hoping childs of happiness. Wherever there is joy the hordes of the eclipse will pollute sadness and hate under the reign of fear. The lands will grow black. There is no sunrise yet to come into the wastelands of phantoms lost. May these moments under the moon be eternal. May the infinity haunt me... In Darkness." Whew!

As often as I like to listen to music, I just can't wear headphones in public. I would never go jogging with headphones -- I'd rather know where the speeding cars are and whether or not any muggers might be lurking. I'm never comfortable listening to CDs at record store listening stations, because I can always still hear the music the store is playing, and it feels weird to stand with my back to an open public space wearing headphones which cut off all the sound cues of my environment.
        I say this because a year ago I was at a strip-mall CD store in Lincoln, NE and they were selling Sleep's Jerusalem for $5. Instead of just buying it, I decided to go over to the headphones and "see what it was like." I noticed that the CD was just one 52-minute track called "Jerusalem." It opened with really slow and heavy guitars just going VROWWWMM, VROWWWMM, VROWWWMM, VROOOOOMM........and it seemed like it was going to go on like that for quite awhile. It was good, but I'd already heard it done just as well by the Melvins (whose Lysol, now called Melvins, starts the same way). As expected, having felt like I'd heard it all before while being stuck in a public place, facing the wall, with the sound of the public behind me almost completely blocked out (Hostile Ambient Takeover indeed!), I began to get restless. In past CD listening station experiences, this is the point where I would just start nervously jumping through the rest of the tracks, never listening to more than 15 seconds of each, but this was "Jerusalem." I would have to fast forward -- egad, press a button -- and then have to hold down on it. After doing this, I finally heard what might have been sped-up vocals in the mix, digitally whizzing past. I stopped, and they were vocals. Sounded good, but I was fed up. I put the CD back.
       A year goes by. More than once, I read a small flurry of praise for Jerusalem on music list-servs. I should've just bought it, I think. Another year goes by. I'm in Reckless Records on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. The employees are spinning some pretty heavy rock music, and what's more, it's been going for five or ten minutes with nary a vocal. Stoner metal done right, and instrumental to boot. And then, just as I'm leaving the magazine stand (my traditional first stop) after a particularly long sneering bout with The Wire reviews section, the vocals enter, and HOLY SHIT they're even heavier than the guitars! Stoner metal done right, indeed. I go about my business, but as usual with Reckless, the combination of not having $100 to spend and, in order to even wishfully think, having to dig through their way-cramped card-catalog-style CD bins, had me ready to leave before the epic stoner metal had ended. I bought something, one thing, can't remember what. Actually, I do remember, it was the first album by Bootsy's Rubber Band, for like $3.99, and I bought it because just a week or two before I had heard its great song "I'd Rather Be With You" on the soundtrack to the John Singleton movie Baby Boy. Can you dig that? You can??! Good, now let's get back to this: as I was buying the album, I asked the store-clerk what was playing. "Uh, this is..." he said, handing me the CD Jerusalem by Sleep. "Oh, snap!," I said to myself. "How much?" I said to the clerk. "It's not for sale," he said with a smile. "Okay," I said with a smile. Damn record stores clerks, snappin' up all the good new arrivals. I still haven't found it anywhere.

LOU REED: Metal Machine Music CD
Until now, I had only heard a 4 minute excerpt of Lou Reed's 64-minute "electronic instrumental composition" called "The Amine ß Ring," released in 1975 as the double LP Metal Machine Music. The excerpt was on some artsy-fartsy John Cage tribute CD that I always kinda liked. The Ann Magnuson track was great, but that might have been because I had the hots for her. At 4 minutes, I thought "The Amine ß Ring" was pretty great, but even at just 4 minutes I felt like I'd had enough. I once saw the original LP selling for something like 50 bucks, but despite the very cool cover art, there was no way I was going to need it for that price.
        But, last week, I saw it in a used CD bin for the first time, some slightly cheap-looking European reissue with a different cover that was going for 9 bucks. (Record Exchange on Belmont -- not a bad store, but kind of drab.) On closer examination, I saw that Lou's paranoid liner notes and humorous technical specifications ("No Synthesizers/No Arp/No Instruments?/ --10 db + 57db/--20 hz--+30,000 hz/--12 kz --+28,000 kz," and much more) were nicely reprinted, and I decided that they alone were probably worth 9 bucks. So now I'm at home, somewhere in the middle of track two (which used to be side two when this was a double LP) and I don't think I'm really gonna listen to the whole thing. After all, as Lou told Lester, "Anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am." Hell, he says as much right in the liner notes: "No one I know has listened to it all the way through including myself. It was not meant to be. Start any place you like." See, noise records were intentionally overlong right from the beginning.
        But even if you only listen to four minutes, it's still an unforgettable sound. What makes this record good is the classical music he's constantly mixing into it. (Lou has called himself "the original rapper," and it looks like he's got a claim on "original sampler" too.) When Lou revealed this process to Lester, it sounded like another deadpan Lou Reed joke ("Just sit down and you can hear Beethoven right in the opening part of it. It's down here in, like, you know, about the fifteenth harmonic. But it's not the only one there, there's about seventeen more going at the same time. It just depends which one you catch. And when I say Beethoven, y'know, there are other people in there. Vivaldi...I used pretty obvious ones..."). Now that I listen to it, I don't think he was joking at all; I (think I) can hear the classical music throughout. Thing is, you don't actually hear violins or brass or even really melodies, because the samples were so run through crazed horrific pedal settings that all the genteel violin strains shimmer and rapidly pitch-shift in a most deranged psychedelic way. Also battling for space in the mix, most of the time, is what sounds like a single electric guitar letting out a single feedback tone. This looks forward to post-70s rock music's wholesale appropriation of NYC loft minimalism, but it also mostly sounds like wailing bagpipes, and offers a nice buffer between the listener's psyche and those insane cubist/sonic refractions of classical music.
         I mean insane. It was nice of Lou to keep those low in the mix. There's also what occasionally sounds like weird little kids on helium screaming, and I'm glad it's occasionally. This could easily be interpreted as some weird echo-chamber refraction of warfare. You know, Vietnam music. The next step after Jimi's "Machine Gun" and "Star-Spangled Banner." (Lou, again to Lester: "I could take Hendrix. Hendrix was one of the great guitar players, but I was better. But that's only because I wanted to do a certain thing and the thing I wanted to do that blew his mind is the thing I've finally got done that I'll stick on RCA when the rock 'n' roll shit gets taken care of." He was talking about Metal Machine Music.)
       Anyway, this is more of an event than an album, more of a manifesto than music, etc. This CD's kinda cool, but let's face it, if I didn't pick up the original 2LP for list price $6.98 back in 1975, I missed out. For example, this reish's different cover image, totally misses out on one of the great rock-star-as-sci-fi-super-villian moves. Who would even be in second place? Bobby Digital??

the original cover

VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Nature of Systems CD (CARBON)

Classy comp documenting the Rochester, NY post-free scene, one of the few places in America where the improv/jazz camp and noise/punk camp seem to be willing to party together. Here's some notes on a few of the tracks:
Arthur Doyle Electro-Acoustic Ensemble weighs in with "Flue Song," which also appeared, in a rather more thunderous 'full-band' version, on his Live@The Cooler CD of four or five years ago. Compared to that album's rockish lineup, The Electro-Acoustic Ensemble has no Rudolph Grey guitar, and thus sounds smaller, or at least much more restrained, which puts Doyle's queasy flute melody into a much different context. I think he did well to hook up with these cats. And the song deserves to be a Doyle standard -- it's a memorable melody with a great title. The way Doyle overblows really does bring to mind the sort of queasiness one associates with being ill, and the "e" added on the end of "flu" makes it sound like it could also be the name of a musical form, like "fugue." But then it would be called "Flue Flue," so...
Someone named Andy Gilmore weighs in with a track that has some MazzaCaney guitar work and some post-production treatments going on...or maybe it's all recorded live with the help of a pedal or two. Either way, a nice if not especially original bit of subdued hum/huzz, that elevates a bit when a weird (backwards?) voice sample scurries by halfway through, preluding a striking chime-driven ending.
The Charalambides donate the most uncharacteristic thing I've heard 'em do since maybe that song "Gypsy Woman." Uncharacteristic in a different way, though. Very minimal and glacially-paced, it starts off with more MazzaCaney bended guitar notes. They sound recorded in a high-tech digital studio, and there's tape editing and backwards stuff goin' on. A minimal low-string guitar riff tries to enter -- a little more characteristic, sorta like Low and lot like the Home CD-R and much of the Houston CD -- but it gets confused by the tape-masking. Eventually, a loop of Christina Carter's voice at it's most beautiful takes over, gets pitch-shifted and double-tracked, and rides the track out in a blooze of glory. In a way, it's the most 'hi-fi' and dare-I-say New Agey thing they've done, but it's still just as devastating as their more raw works.
Nod do their usual shambolic garage-rock, although "John Henry vs. The Smog Monster" infuses it with a country blues vocabulary that is new to me for them.....Mick Turner defies low Dirty Three expectations by doing a rather wild cut-and-paste plunderphonic 'contemporary classical' type piece.....Sheet is a Rochester-ite doing 'sheets' of noise. Kind of John Wiese-y, though it doesn't rank quite as high on the 'super-loud digital shock' scale. Not bad, not startling....The Flying Luttenbachers appear in their now-defunct improvised-with-cues free-jazz-meets-death-metal mode. I still think that Weasel Walter is a goddamn important drummer -- his technique is serious, and his weird-ass kit selection adds as significantly to the free jazz timbre as anyone since Han freaking Bennink, but Michael Colligan on sax and Kurt Johnson on contrabass play more in the tradition and even at less than 5 minutes, the track seems a little long and a little unfocused. What was it, a Phi-Phenomena set? The title "maximum cruelty" seems picked at random from Weasel's piggybank of slogans, and isn't especially descriptive of the sound itself. I do applaud the Luttenbachers' current 'brutal prog' direction as a death-defying way out of the nowave/freemusic sand trap.
I never have felt like the Golden Calves Eskimo Live Band have quite gotten out from under the shadow of the Tower Recordings. This track doesn't have singing, so it's a little distanced from Planet TR. A brief duet between a roughly Jandekian acoustic guitar and what might be the weird recorded laughter of a battery-operated talking doll, it's nice but a little slight.....Pelt's track is recorded live and is more of their basic ethno-forgery drone sound, although it has less loud bowed guitar than usual, and in fact maybe none at all. Instead, it's a very cavernous/ominous jam by an actual violin quartet. It reminds me a bit of the first part of the really long track by Sun City Girls with Eyvind Kang, on disc two of 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda.....Pengo end the disc with a jam called "new loft elevation 2001." At the raucous beginning, John Schoen's 'sound sources' create a feel more like To Live and Shave in L.A. than what I expect from these guys, although it soon dissipates and out of the dust emerges a percussion-driven ethno-forgery jam with weird multi-tracked reed playing by Joe Tunis. The last few seconds are really good, as the percussion groove morphs into a lurching electro-glitch groove. So there you have (most of) it!

THE PERFECT ME: The Very Best of The Perfect Me CD
Here's one of my top discoveries of the year, a band from Los Angeles called The Perfect Me. Well, they live in L.A., anyway; vocalist/
instrumentalist Jim Shaw is from Michigan (you know him from the original 1974-1976 lineup of Destroy All Monsters). His wife, artist Marnie Weber, is the other vocalist/instrumentalist in the band -- I don't know where she's from. She, and the other three band-members (Jamey Blair, Sarah Seager, and Thaddeus Strode), who I haven't heard of before, might all actually be Angelenos. Either way, they all live there now (as far as I know) and make this great music.
       What's great about it? I don't know. I didn't fall in love with it right away, but I did kinda like it. In an accompanying letter Cary Loren described this album as an "amazing psych CD," and I could hear it, but not in a traditional KrautRockWind sense. This is more like Devo/Residents/Pere Ubu psychedelic. All the melodies could be traced directly to girl groups and 50s and 60s soul-rock, which is why The Perfect Me are already more to my liking than the entire career of The Residents. The all-avant approach of the Residents and their kindred, while a respectable, and probably outright necessary, rejoinder to the all-pop approach of The Beatles and their kindred, will eventually lose every time with me. No matter how avant you get, you've gotta have some girl-group soul-rock in there, just a little bit of "Please Mr. Postman." At least figuratively, but I digress.
       There is one krautrock band that The Perfect Me remind me of: Faust, the most girl-group soul-rock krautrock band of all. This CD reminds me of The Faust Tapes in the way it's packed with short tracks that go from rock grooves and instrumentation into electronic freenoise and back and forth. The Perfect Me also reminded of their contemporaries The Tower Recordings, just in the way they have a discursive free-ranging style via which, 22 tracks later, quite a few soul-rock (i.e. folk) songs pop up out of the experimental/free atmosphere.
        Yep, there's like 22 tracks on here, and I sure don't think I've heard each of 'em yet. Of course I've heard the first track, and I love it. It's called "I Know I" and it's a trancey pop number, with a vocal hook that actually sounds like a music-box playing an underwater Ronettes sample on 16RPM over and over again. That's the Marnie Weber part anyway (I'm assuming), and Jim Shaw (I'm assuming) comes in a little later singing "Sometimes I'm happy....Sometimes I'm sad...." in a beautiful croon that I've been copping myself while daydreaming at work. Speaking of Jim Shaw's croon, wait 'til "Astral Thighs," in which you hear him take a girl-group hook and wrap these lyrics around it: "I've got an object in my neck/That no one knows but some suspect/They've got me strapped to some device/It milks my brain for good advice/My DNA is on their tapes/We're all just laboratory apes/I know it should humiliate/In me it just exhilarates/I've got an object in my head/And all those who know just wind up dead/My DNA was grabbed by thugs/We're all just laboratory bugs..." Can you say "okay"?
        The second track, "Egg Fuzz Kiss," has fuzzy guitar and vocals that create a psych mood that totally describes the song title. To top it off the CD also features the photo reproduced below. (I can't identify the film that is the source of this photo, although it is clearly the greatest film of all time.) That's all for now, really. I don't want to write a book about it before you just buy it.

TELEVISION: Disc 3: Marquis de Johnny Moonjewel CD-R (CHICAGO MEDICAL SOCIETY)

This disc is notable for containing the original Ork Records 7-inch "Little Johnny Jewel" in its entirety, the only record the band released previous to the Marquee Moon LP on Elektra. The fade out and fade in that got you from side A to side B is preserved, and the whole thing clocks in at 7:44. For my first-ever listen of this song that I had previously heard so much about, I was almost literally shocked by how sloppy and out-of-tune this was. Now I love it. (Actually, I heard it once before, a damn good live cover version by Mike Watt and his band with Nels Cline on guitar.)

       This bootleg CDR features only two songs: 4 versions of "Little Johnny Jewel" and 3 versions of "Marquee Moon." The first "Marquee Moon" is called the "Eno Demo" version. I'm sure I read about Eno producing Television demos in From The Velvets To The Voidoids, but I don't "recall," to quote Tom Verlaine himself. The thing that steadily grows on me as I listen to these three versions is how BAD they are. Like bad in the sense that you can see why these recordings were never officially released. I mean, they're GOOD, because they were by a great band at their peak, but on the Eno demo, for example, the guitars and Verlaine's singing are all out of tune and the mixes are weird (Lloyd is almost inaudible throughout the first half). Somehow the song only lasts 7 minutes and 7 seconds. There are nice moments in here, though
.....the "droplets of electricity" comedown at the end is pretty remarkable in a different way than it is on the LP, where it is one of the most remarkable rock guitar moments of all time.
       Being out of tune seems to be a running problem with these guys, but on the live and of "unknown origin" version, they're also having trouble just playing together. The infamously interlocking main riff just ain't happenin', folks. Verlaine's vocal is straining and not quite getting it. Next comes a nearly 18-minute version from the "Earth Tavern, Portland 07-03-78". The band is crushingly out of tune this time -- but they're also pretty damn heavy. On vocals, Verlaine either sounds like he's joking, has a really bad cold, or took a quaalude. Maybe all three. A very weird performance -- although during the instrumental sections the band still approaches glory. (Now, so what's up with that cat I keep hearing throughout the performance, and especially at the end, when it is so loud and sudden that it made my wife and I spontaneously laugh out loud, and made me ask her, "Didn't you hear that earlier during the song a couple times? Like farther off in the distance?" She claimed she didn't. "I did, like three or four times, every few minutes. I thought it was just some weird audience member, but I think it was actually a cat the whole time!" She didn't really know what I was talking about. We were driving at the time, down I-94, on our way to Detroit, passing through Paw Paw, Michigan. We stopped there and ate at the Chicken Coop, which seemed like it would be fun until we got inside and waited in line for 20 minutes behind a bunch of octogenarians. Kind of took the wind out of our sails, but the fried fish we finally got was pretty good. Later, as we were back in the car leaving Paw Paw, I realized that it was the town where "The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch" of Brian Eno fame was from. But I digress.)



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