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5uu's - Crisis In Clay CD (album) cover

CRISIS IN CLAY

5uu's

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.71 | 50 ratings

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The Mentalist
4 stars Where to begin... 5uu's is the brainchild of drummer / instrumentalist / composer, Dave Kerman (surely one of the most underrated drummers around). The other major contributor to this album is the amazing Mr Bob Drake (instrumentalist, singer, compose, producer and engineer of the highest calibre). Together with Sanjay Kumar they make a weird and wonderful music. What do they sound like? Well, imagine, if you will, a mad scientist with a crazy plan --a plan to combine the asymmetric rhythmic angularity and seeming anarchy of Captain Beefheart with Yes's 'Relayer' (filtered through a multi-dimensional atomiser then rebuilt to look like a Piccaso painting, naturally), and graft it onto the art rockery of Fred Frith and Henry Cow. Not content with that , the Mad Scientist adds to his plan the voice of Jon Anderson. Only it's Jon Anderson as he would sound if he were having a very, very bad acid trip. If you can imagine such a sick plan coming to fruition, then, you kinda have 5uu's and 'Crisis in Clay'.

Bob Drake does sound uncannily like Jon Anderson at times, which is undoubtedly intentional. There's even a direct quotation from 'The Ancient' on one of the tracks -- and an amazing moment it is, too. The instrumentation is hard to pin down, as Bob Drake takes great delight in manipulating and processing the sounds until they're barely recognisable. Sometimes the music is so processed it verges on pure noise, yet it always remains harmonious albeit in a decidedly un-godly and blasphemous manner. I'd even go as far as to say that there's something organic about these impenetrable walls-of-sound. It is quite an uncanny effect, to say the least. Of course, buried underneath this beautiful monstrosity of sound is a highly distressed and dysfunctional Jon Anderson --Jon Anderson from an alternate reality -- suffocating (yet shining forth in pure light) underneath the sonic debris.

But, for all its outward chaos, there's is real beauty and depth in this music. The melodies (mostly played on keyboards) are of the Henry Cow variety, as are the rhythms: constantly shifting time signatures, misplaced accents, etc. Dave Kerman's incessant use of the humble triplet is very reminiscent of Zappa circa 'Uncle Meat'. And the drumming (when it's not been engineered and manipulated beyond recognition) is awesome, indeed. As for the production and engineering, it's nothing short of miraculous. If you like intensity in music then look no further. . .5uu's is always intense!
The Mentalist | 4/5 |

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