Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Motor Totemist Guild - A Luigi Futi CD (album) cover


Motor Totemist Guild



3.50 | 7 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars The Barbie question.

The header is taken from the creation 'Barbie variations' in this mini-collection by itself, which lies in a larger collection 'archive ii'. The review is based on 'archive ii' listening.

In fact I was surprised to find such a mature and good stuff from early '85. Most of the materials from that era by the band are still amateurish and mainly experimental (IMO). 'Barbie variations' is co-written by James Grigsby and Eric Strauss. From Barbie birth (by injection mold), to death (Barbie in hell) it comprise toys instruments such as children trumpets, keyboard toys, vibraphone, and some scratchy things I didn't recognized, along with the 'regular' classic/jazz instrumentation of the band. To this background, Eric Strauss narrated the amusing lyrics of few songs by poet Michal Herrin. Childish sections go along with jazzy sections, until the kind-of-funeral finale. But take it with a wink, after all it's not that serious.

As for the Barbie question mentioned above, I think I've heard it before. Absolutely a serious question, that deserve a deep discussion, but I'm too modest and moral to write it down here.

This unique and humorous composition alone worthy 4 stars in my opinion.

The second creation that belong to this mini-collection, 'Omaggio a Futi', is longer, and on the top avant guard that I've heard in this field (RIO, avant rock, call it as you like). It really tangible to classical avant guard. It's homage to Luigi Futi, a futurist composer. So it supposed to draws a lot of techniques from the futurism music world. After a nice tune with great bass line (BTW it appears also in 'Vagabonds home' from the follower s/t U Totem album), comes many musical events. Known and usual Concepts such as 'melody', 'harmony' and 'rhythm' are challenged here, since you not always will find or recognize them here. For instance, the first event is mainly vocalized, and the vocals just call the letters of the phrase 'Omaggio a Futi', the track name, sometimes manipulated by tapes.

There is a jazzy section in the middle that breaks down all this, and then back to the more abstract things. It lasts with a part of work that done with musicians of Cambodia and Laos: An old song, 'Follow the drinking gourd', is played and sung, but interrupted with Asian music and instrumentation sections, along with some tapes. It sound happenstance, but it turns out that it performed live, so it's not just a 'cut, copy and paste' work. And in further listens it become more clear and less happenstance from what is seems to be at first listens.

Nevertheless, even though this is a very interesting creation, I didn't manage to fully get into it. It didn't click on me sufficiently for a 4 stars rating. As I said, this is top avant guard in this field. And it's quite long, about 20 minutes, compared to the shorter (and preferred) 'Barbie variations', (which clocks in about 13 minutes). So the final rating for this album is 3 stars from me. In fact, this album could be found currently on vinyl at Rotary Totem records, Grigsby's record company. The vinyl version contains 8 more minutes, in two pieces, as I learned from the track list here. Right now I'm not intend to listen and review the vinyl version, (because of lack of time, money and other 'real life' issues). So the rating remains as it is, with the restriction that there are 8 more minutes to cover. I'll be happy if someone else take it upon himself/herself.

ShW1 | 3/5 |


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).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this MOTOR TOTEMIST GUILD review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

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

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives