O-Type-THE NEW EDGE 5-CD box set plus DVD-R (Family Vineyard)
Whenever I get into a mood more suitable for the city dump than a high-spirited blog such as this, I settle back in my comfy chair, grab a bunch of old fanzines and early/mid-seventies period CREEMs, and to top it all off slip a few of my long-time fave rave recordings onto the good ol' victrola or the chairside laser launching pad. Pretty soon the troubles just seem to be bubbling away like Dow bathroom cleaner in my over-greased Italian tub. And as of late, it seems as if those Bruce Anderson/Dale Sophiea O-Type disques that Family Vineyard have been releasing for quite a few years have been making more than a suitable backdrop for my evening relaxation. I've been a huge fan of this band ever since their first cassette-only release back in the mid-eighties, and that particular self-titled one (their bestest in my own humble opinion) as well as their followup remain faves that I sure hope Anderson's Quadruped label will reissue on disque more sooner'n later because these two sure need to be heard by more than the few dorkoids who picked pennies offa sidewalks in order to be able to afford these raucous efforts back during one of the more pathetic times in rock histoire.
The O-Type platters that appear on Family Vineyard are no slouches either, with Sophiea (the Jerry Garcia lookalike of the band) by this time handling electronic sampler in addition to his bass guitar with the resultant spew sounding a good deal like an ambient free jazz fusion heavy metal band that's bound to give everyone from Eno and Chick Corea to your standard metallic "poseur" a good night's headache! At one moment O-Type can come off like they're serious studied music school graduates performing a mid-seventies vintage electronic composition before creating a free-form atonal guitar screech akin to the original pre-Stim MX-80, and perhaps this is "supposed" to be adventurous and difficult music (or "musique"), but I find it strangely exhilarating!
I naturally hadda dig out all of my O-Type recordings after receiving THE NEW EDGE, a collection of all five Family Vineyard O-Type recordings that comes with a bonus DVD-R of material shot by Sophiea with soundtrack material by who-else-but. Considering I already had the O-Type Cee-Dees proper the folks at FV decided not to send those to me again (which is why I hadda dig the disques out myself!) but I did get the neat box that the platters would've come in, as well as the aforementioned DVD which certainly is a great surprise outta nowhere especially for one like myself who tends to drool and cling to every note and slice of jelled sputum that the MX-80 cadre seems to spurt out, X-tal excepted. While O-Type seep into your cosmic consciousness-rotted mind with their typically free-form soundscapading (coming off like something Bernard Herrmann would have had the good sense to keep under wraps for fear of his life), we are treated to visuals of flying pests boring holes in wood planks and acting like the pestulance they most certainly are as they buzz around in wooded areas while termites crawl through rot and ants scatter over what seems to be a dead cicada. Rather unappetizing, but it won't make you puke your guts or anything like that. After that at-times unnerving episode we're presented shots of jellyfish in an aquarium swimming about like globs in a lava lamp in a sequence that reminds me way too much of those short films that used to fill out the hour on PBS back in the seventies. Pretty entrancing even if it's being done by a non-professional 'stead of some videographer. If you too want to relive those thirty-plus-year-old days of watching seventies television on hot and humid summer nights too lazy to get up and change the station to the late news, this should bring back those truly fond memories of glorious inertia.
If you're unfamiliar with a good portion of the recorded output of Bruce Anderson/Dale Sophiea's extracurricular activities, THE NEW EDGE is a good enough entrance into a new world of gloriously difficult, yet life-reaffirming music. As for the DVD-R, you may start to feel pangs of discomfort and general uneasiness watching the insect kingdom at its destructive best but it ain't like an accident where you feel it's your duty to rubberneck in order to glom all of the gory details. As for me I find the whole package a nice testament as to what "art" in an affects-you sorta way can aspire to even this late in the game, and lemme tell you it sure means a lot more to me'n all that hackery that has been getting pushed as art for the past umpteen years. It gets ya here, y'know?
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