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Randy Greif - Alice in Wonderland Part 2 CD (album) cover


Randy Greif


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Part two of the 6 hour marathon that comprises Greif's magnum opus. It continues exactly where part one finishes. The clever thing about the construction of the story is that all 5 parts sound great as stand alone entities. You don't necessarily need to have heard part one before listening to this.

It must have been sheer hell putting a collection of discs like this together over 5 years. It would have been so easy to lose interest and just rush it it to completion. That, coupled with the fact that there were serious limitations 20 years ago in composing computer based music.

The idea was hatched in '88 when Greif found an old 3 LP audio book of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' which he used for the experimental manipulation of vocals.

Like part one this is full of loops, cut ups and clanking industrial noises which leaves us with an almost horror movie soundtrack. The narration is always engulfed in phonemes. (The smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, like the 'm' of mat and the 'b' of bat.). Spoken narration is digitally de-constructed into mumbo-jumbo and is gradually brought back together again, usually over 3 or 4 minutes. This occurs frequently throughout all 5 volumes and is, in itself, very spooky in its self repeating fragments.

This is a slightly dated recording due to the technology used during the tail end of the '80's. It's continually freakish, sometimes too freakish but at all times is always entertaining and hugely original. Thankfully each 70 minute cd is broken up into individual tracks otherwise it would have been very hard to endure.

One of the few musical similarities I can cite are 'The Hafler Trio' - who's work is more austere, academic and a lot less fun. 'Alice in Wonderland' was clearly a labour of love for Randy Greif where, despite his attention to detail, does sound a bit clumsy at times - bumping into walls and tripping over it's feet. The most inspired thing about it is that he highlights the darker parts of the narrative, dwelling on them for minutes on end and rubbing it in your face for good measure.

Play this late at night as you're trying to get to sleep and I can guarantee you the weirdest of dreams involving spiders and disembodied creatures. The spoken vocals, with their ultra-odd cut ups and juxtapositions are as close to the dream experience as music ever gets.

And isn't it nice to see Stephen Hawking making a welcome contribution on 'The Fish Footman'?

Dobermensch | 4/5 |


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