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Smegma - Smell the Remains CD (album) cover

SMELL THE REMAINS

Smegma

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.05 | 2 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars One of the only remaining active groups from the seventies Los Angeles Free Music Society scene, Smegma combines the experimentalism of Laurie Anderson, the unpredictability of Zappa, subtlety of Jello Biafra and overall grace of the most vile of punk bands to deliver a brand of music that certainly has to be acknowledged as innovative, though questionably progressive.

The ‘songs’ here, if they can be called that, consist of noise, special effects, spliced in segments of various taped recordings (both natural and man-made) and occasionally actual musical instruments to form themes and thoughts that are probably only coherent or understandable to the people who compiled them. Art of Noise made similar music in the eighties, although in their case the visuals were an integral part of the experience and the band managed to demonstrate at least nominally recognizable song structures and sporadic rhythms from time to time. Guapo are a more recent example, but in their case the instrumentation tends to overshadow the taped sounds and the band does seem to have some sense of cohesion to their themes. There’s little to none of any of that here though.

Members of the group all present themselves under pseudonyms, so who knows who they really are. Just for fun try imagining three U.S. Supreme Court justices, Nelson Mandela, that nerdy kid who pushed the film projector cart back in your middle school, and the janitor at your local hardware store performing under the names of Amazon Bambi, Baby J, Cheez- it-Ritz, Dr. Id, Ju Suk Reet Meet and White Mohamed; frankly I think that’s the point of this music anyway, to have a little fun and use your imagination.

Despite the disgusting band name and borderline offensive title, the music (using that term loosely) is moderately interesting, but it will not appeal to many folks and is unlikely to win the group any converts who aren’t already into noise-constructed avant-garde. From the drone of “Beauty School” to the heavily-mixed voice tracks and dissonant horns of “Can't Look Straight” to the Gun Club-like punk of “Credo Quia Absurdum Est - Hot Beeshead Hit the Wax”, this stuff is only for the more open-minded of progressive music enthusiasts. For that reason I can’t say as I recommend it to anyone in particular, and haven’t a clue what to rate the album. I guess I’ll go with three stars just because the band is innovative if highly unconventional, and for that they probably deserve just a little more than a ‘collectors only’ label. Good luck, and if you are completely turned-off don’t blame me!

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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