Motarist Mark Taylor gives us something a little diffrent on his new disc, YR. This platter combines standard molten zonk feedback with Middle Eastern & Oriental ingredients 4 some amazing new sounds.
Taylor's partner, percussionist Barry Anderson, adds 2 the atmosphere with his work on tabla, tamboura, sitar, & all sorts of gourds, bongos, chimes, vibes & breakables. He seems 2 have stolen a few tricks from Euphoria drummer Alan Miller, but he doesn't bash a sheet of aluminum siding NEwhere on this album.
The simpler trax R the most successful, as on the dramatic opener "Errr....," which closes with a long, violent motar workout that'll melt down yer speakers. Recommended 4 the brave.
I sit back with a smoke & another mug of coffee, & gaze out the window 4 a few mins. I've pieced-2gether 4 reviews already this morn & it's only 11 am, so I'm entitled 2 a little break.
It's a typical fall morning in the city. The grayish-brown smog layer spreads out over the bowl in which the city sprawls & hugs the hillsides. None of the smoke escapes. The sun tries 2 burn thru the goop, but all we get is a wan gray light that makes it look like winter all year-round.
Winter is when it's the worst -- when the smoke gets so thick that I can't C the CubeBlock next-door. The smoke is a mixture of car exhaust, industrial fumes, burned coal, outpourings from the nearby oil refineries, & other leftovers -- & the SMELL is unbelievable. I get whiffs of rotting garbage, leftover dinners in other cubicles, busted sewer lines, & abandoned pets that have starved 2 death & R now decomposing in what useta B the block's courtyard far below.
Someday ALL big cities will look & smell like this, if they don't already.
From the far-off street I can hear taxi & bus horns honking, & the shouts of frightened pedestrians who got 2 close 2 the non-stop traffic.
It's much safer 2 stay inside -- that way you avoid the murderous traffic & the equally lethal air. Have yer groceries delivered. U can get a work-at-home job. I found 1, & look at the 2nd-rate skills I'VE got....
2morrow's latest disc, JOURNEYS IN, is 1st-rate orchestral zonk.
From the powerful opener "Memory Lane," thru pleasant vocal trips like "Surprise, Surprise," "Meritocracy," & "Chance of a Lifetime" 2 the dislocated loneliness of "Dissociation," 2 the gorgeous circular-vocal ending of "The Dog, The Dog," the drive & power behind the much-2-brief "Be All Right," & the beautiful lovesongs "The World is Yours" & "All the Way" ... well, the more U listen 2 this disc, the EZer it is 2 get lost in it.
Some zonk critics & even fellow zombies have complained that 2morrow's 2 old-fashioned, 2 conservative in their playing, singing & production -- but I've never agreed with them. This is high-quality stuff. Go get this 1.
I don't remember TV or radio. My parents do. I grew up with the Cyclops. It's always bn the ultimate media, all I've ever known, so there's never bn NE question about whether I'm comfortable with it or suited 4 it. Even tho I started writing 4 fans' newssheets, it was always the Cyclops I was aiming 4, & I think I fit in just fine.
My parents were horrified when the Cyclops came along.
When this multi-media, interactive, world-spanning news-entertainment-video&music dispenser arrived at the end of the last century, my rather strait-laced parents took it as something close 2 the embodiment of the AntiChrist.
There was already a backlash against TV in some parts of society. There were many commentators & televangelists who were saying in their strident, repetitive, boring ways that the only way 2 save The Family was 2 pry everybody away from that infernal TV set. Most of them were saying this while ON TV, of course.
They were 2 stupid 2 realize that The Family as they knew it was already long dead.
When the Cyclops came along, it marked the end of NE significant resistance 2 mass media. People by the millions just kinda caved-in. Nobody heard the few objections 2 the new media, Bcos there were suddenly 1,000 channels you could tune in2 -- just change the channel & the televangelists & old-timers faded away. As they had B4. But now viewers could get LOST among the channels & never havta deal with Harsh Reality again.
Various nicknames popped-up 4 full-time viewers. "Couch potatoes" had already bn part of the language 4 years, referring 2 constant TV-watchers. The new term that stuck was "zombies." Most of them wear the name as a badge of honor, these days. So do I.
The Cyclops gave people everything they wanted, NE time of the day or nite -- news, info, music, sports, movies, travelogues, magazines, fiction, porn, U name it. Every taste, every age was catered-2. Those zombies who could only handle sounds & images were given sounds & images all day long ... & all nite long, if they wanted that much. Those who preferred print (like me) could call it up in seconds. Those who wanted their news or reviews or novels read 2 them could have that 2.
Somebody told me 1nce that I should become an on-air personality & read my stuff over the Cyclops -- make more credits & become a household name. I appreciated the suggestion, but I'm not Xactly the most polished-looking person in the world, & if you're gonna B on the Cyclops, U havta B polished above all. Our ugly society has no tolerance 4 on-air ugliness, or 4 NEthing much less than what is commonly considered 2 B "attractive." & I don't kid myself about my looks. I have some Xperience in this area....
The best thing about the Cyclops, the hook that helped it catch-on so fast, is that it's all interactive, has bn from the start. If U don't like the news, U can respond -- & your opinions, no matter how illiterate or intemperate -- flow in2 the system where the whole world can read them ... or hear you scream them, if that's what you want 2 do.
That's how I got started with it -- rather than continuing 2 send my views 2 fans' newssheets, I bashed them in2 the hookup & sent them in2 the system. After only a few weeks of that, NEW MUZIK -- a sorta on-air newssheet 4 print addicts such as myself (there R, amazingly enuf, still millions of us) -- noticed me, & I've bn (relatively) happy & financially semi-secure ever since.
Due 2 the 1,000 24-hour channels & especially Bcos of the instant feedback & universal access 2 something near 5 billion people, the Cyclops grew hugely popular practically overnite. Most daily newspapers disappeared within months, tho a few newssheets survived & still do. Old-style TV & radio hung around 4 a coupla years while people updated their at-home equipment & switched over. The Cyclops was the New Wave, everybody realized it, & most of the population began channel-surfing on it with ravenous enthusiasm.
& when the system's creators realized that their revolutionary invention was going 2 B nicknamed by the mostly-illiterate zombiefied masses after the Greeks' mythological 1-eyed monster ... they must have bn just as horrified (in a diffrent kind of way) as my parents were.
Look, music means a lot 2 me. I've bn writing about it 4 the last 20 years. It's hard 2 tell if NE1 notices the work, if the message actually gets thru. It doesn't help that a lot of what I write about & want 2 point people toward is ... pretty strange stuff. I mean, I think it's great, & I'm a fairly-respected critic in my field, but so what? What the hell do I know?
It's never bn proven that criticism (or "reviewing," if U prefer, it's less snooty) has ever made NE diffrence in sales, musical quality, rescuing artists from their own self-destructiveness (C Kevin Alexander 4 evidence), or NEthing else.
4 all the feedback I get -- which isn't very much -- I'm not even sure NEbody out there really reads this stuff. They're busy talking about & focusing on whatever it is that they think is most important in their lives.
& I'll B damned if I can figure out what that's supposed 2 B.
If music/art/entertainment/videos or whatever Rn't important in peoples' lives, what is?
Their families? I've met more guys than I can remember who treat their disc collections with more care, love & affection than they do their wives & children. (Me included -- ask my X-wife.)
Their jobs? Everybody's cynical about their job -- Ghod knows I'm cynical about mine, tho I'm grateful 2 have it. Everybody does just as much work as they have 2 in order 2 get by -- & preferably no more. & I'm as guilty of that as NE1.
What is this line of work 4? Sure it means something 2 ME, but is NEbody else getting the msg?
There R more than 5 billion people hooked in2 that huge maw out there, the Cyclops. 5 billion people.
But maybe they're just looking 4 something 2 fill the void as they switch from channel 2 channel. Is NEbody REALLY paying attention? R they really all just zombies?
Just like me...?
Just got a msg from the folks at NM. Some of my output this morning has bn ... how can they put this delicately? ... "a bit despairing," sez here. "Don't do it again," they say. "U'll soon find yourself out of the loop, even if U ARE 1 of the most respected zonk critics on the Cyclops. There R always more where U came from, Lester, & 45 is a little late 2 start looking 4 a new line of work."
Right. Wow. They must B reading me pretty closely up there. Thanx 4 the warning, guys. At least I know somebody's paying attn.
& now, back 2 work....
The Zoo Consortium's 3-disc best-of set BIZARRE DISEASES OF THE MIND is finally out, & it's an absolute Best Buy.
I shouldn't havta list these song-titles 4 U, U otta know 'em by heart. & White Knight Discs has spared no Xpense 2 make this a collection of nothing but the Very Best work by the 1st real zonk band.
All the hits R here, from the glowing "Watching the Airplanes" 2 the delicate "Ethelion," from the spooky "In the Dead of Nite" 2 the triumphant "Day of the Unicorn," from the scary "?s" 2 the reassuring "Msg from the Country." & they all still sound great, naturally.
I shouldn't havta remind U that this band was the driving force in creating zonk as we know it 2day. These discs include nearly 4 hrs of music by 1 of the 2 most important zonk bands ever. & of course U already know who that Other Band is -- I've already reviewed 1 of their works 2day.
Indescribably Essential. Run, do not walk, 2 yer nearest disc store.
...Just got ANOTHER msg from NM -- they say I'm sending out 2 many positive reviews 2day! The zombies out there need 2 C me slam something now & then so they know I'm not going soft in the head in me old age.
But why waste my fans' time (if I HAVE NE fans) on trash? I could always slam Gross National Product 1 more time -- they deserve it. But there ain't much pleasure in it.
Sorry guys, right now I don't C NE discs around here worth trashing -- at least none that R within arm's reach of me here in the cubicle. U'll just havta wait til I stumble over something else that's really rotten.
After all, I don't wanna get all despairing again, right...?
& U thot '60s nostalgia was dead, right? Wrong, dead wrong.
The Go-Go Girls' latest, BACK TO SCHOOL, brings it all back 4 us, & if this platter doesn't sell at least a billion, I'll go in2 shock.
The songs R all brilliant, from bitter molten zonk freakouts like "Thanx 4 Thinking of Me," 2 in-yer-face putdowns like the great singalong "You Lost Control," 2 wistful lost-love laments like "Forget That Nite," & subdued folky numbers like "You're With Me (Remember?)."
Main songwriter Jayne Flowers is in top form here, composing great trax & adding terrific backing vocals. Lead singer Linda Carlyle has dropped some weight & picked up a few new vocal tricks. Lead motarist Charlotte Coffey plays brilliantly, & percussionist Tina Bloch Cms 2 have the best time of all, pounding the crap outta drums, cymbals, sheets of aluminum & NE breakables she can find. Don't leave NE boxes marked FRAGILE around this girl!
Their best disc yet. The Girls were originally tossed-off as a 1-hit-wonder nostalgia band, & it's good 2 C 'em back proving everybody wrong. Guaranteed Great Stuff!
So, NE more complaints out there? Is this stuff still 2 positive? U want more slams, more controversy, something 2 argue with & get upset about? ... Well, I'll C what I can do....
(2 B Concluded....)