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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening And Closing CD (album) cover


Sleepytime Gorilla Museum



3.81 | 102 ratings

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3 stars "A showing of artifacts from the first years of the Non-Apocalyptic Era has been culled further for inclusion in the present volume as the humble assortment of lullabies and headsplitters you hold in your dirty hands," begin the notes in this CD. It continues with this band's intriguing world of fables, "We drape it in the millennial mythology which clothes ancient fears (and hopes) in the guise of the technological god, cybernetic creator and destroyer of worlds. This pestilence of digital utopia even now burns brightly on the horizon, but over the ashes of its glory will crawl the patient, damp, senseless triumph of the mollusk."

I'm not sure what it all means but it does add to this group's mystique and to the superb packaging of the 2006 reissue of this album, with beautiful artwork, interesting prose and old world charm. What is important, of course, is the music and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum takes you through a bestial maze of it. A kind of dark carnival where one moment a clown is juggling and the next a trapeze artist is falling to his death. A musical exorcism, seething and undulating, building in front of the audience to its violent and painful but necessary finale, and no one gets out unscathed. Such is the bread and circus of Grand Opening and Closing, an astounding and tightly played collection of definitive American avant-garde rock music. Dave Shamrock of Thinking Plague plays drums & piano and some moments on this record are reminiscent of 'A History of Madnes', but also of Present, Univers Zero and Henry Cow. Laced throughout this neo-chamber foundation, however, is a healthy dose of thrash-metal riffage and primal growling from guitarist Nils Frykdahl. Plus powerhouse performances from drummer Matthias Bossi, percussionists Michael Mellender and Moe Staiano, bassist Dan Rathbun, and Carla Kihlstedt on a haunting violin, autoharp and pump organ.

Like a ripe wheel of stinky cheese, SGM's unsettling fare is only for the adventurous and I wouldn't recommend them for family gatherings, friendly get-togethers or dates. This stuff will take the enamel off your teeth so pull it out sparingly and make sure no one is home when you do.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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