Header
Smegma - Pigs for Lepers CD (album) cover

PIGS FOR LEPERS

Smegma

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

2.10 | 2 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars Another one out of the archives for a band whose name sounds like something from a Harold & Kumar movie and whose album titles and covers are clearly aimed more at shock value than any kind of artistic statement.

I wonder how many disappointed punk fans back in the early eighties picked this up expecting anti-social shrieking, two-chord guitar feedback and audio stage-diving? Had to be a few at least…

This was the group’s second studio effort I believe, coming nearly ten years after they formed in Los Angles and somewhere around the time they relocated to Portland, Oregon. The ‘songs’ here - using the term loosely since this stuff is noise experimentation so the concept of a song is a subjective matter of opinion; anyway, they are somewhat more structured than the band’s third record ‘Smell the Remains’. For the most part each track is centered on some sort of repetitive, mostly musical structure usually coming either from guitar or from some sort of DJ’d taped-sound sequence. Around this the many contributors (17 people listed in the credits) lay down various embellishments using both traditional instruments (guitar, bass, drums, violin, flute) and some slightly less-conventional ones (electric mandolin, toy piano, kazoo). There are few vocals, and those that emerge are either from recorded sounds woven into the arrangements, or are brief, punk-inspired rantings mostly delivered from guitarist Harry Cess Poole (hmmm, wonder what that guy’s day job was). There’s even a sort of a tribute to “Several Species of Small Furry Animals…” but in this case featuring cows (“Dying Cows with Putrid Not Praiseworthy Predation”).

I’m describing the music in rather sterile terms mostly because I’m not sure how else to write about it. This record came out in 1982, trailing the punk era and predating post-rock though well inside a brief window of experimental music that included folks like Laurie Anderson, early Art of Noise, and a couple of weird records from Robert Fripp and Andy Summers. But in the case of Smegma there’s a distinct level of experimentation with even the musical structures themselves, and clearly a lot of improvisation around a simple theme with few (if any) rules involved. In that respect I’d place this record a bit closer to folks like Set Fire to Flames, a bunch of classical and rock musicians who locked themselves in an old farmhouse and embarked on several days of sleep-deprived debauchery just to see what sort of music would come out of that experience. Or Cerberus Shoal’s “split CD series” of collaborations with other experimental bands where each tries to influence the other’s sound in what usually ends up as ad-hoc musical porridge. Sometimes these projects work, sometimes they are colossal failures. The risks are great and in my personal opinion the potential rewards minimal, but in the end I suppose these sorts of musical experiments are done by musicians, for musicians, and we are left to help offset the cost by hopefully picking up a few copies of the resulting recordings.

I won’t recommend this to anyone because like their other record I’ve heard I’m not sure who to recommend it to. As a big post-rock fan I can certainly hear some early leanings in that direction here, especially on the second half of the record with songs like “Madness Mambo”, “Oh-Ooh!” and “Mr. Potatohead’s Flotation Excercises”. But there’s a bit too much reliance on taped sequences and general noise as opposed to really well-thought music in my opinion. I’m sure this is a treasure to the group’s fans so it deserves at least two stars, but since the audience beyond that presumably small group is illdefined I’m not really willing to add any more stars, so que sera sera.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Share this SMEGMA review

>

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.03 seconds