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FUNNY VALENTINE

Massacre

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Massacre Funny Valentine album cover
3.59 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1/ Leaf Violence 4:43
2/ Down To Five A Day 4:42
3/ Lizard-Skin Junk-Mail 5:26
4/ Ladder 11:30
5/ South Orange Sunset 4:13
6/ Six-Cylinder Sinister 5:21
7/ 300 Days In The Vacant Lot 7:34
8/ Say Hey Willie 2:14
9/ Talk Radio 3:48
10/ Well-Dressed Ripping Up Wood 4:22
11/ Further Conversations With White Arc 6:24

Total playing time 60.26

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


Fred Frith: guitar
Bill Laswell: bass
Charles Hayward: drums.

Releases information

Tzadik, 1998

Thanks to syzygy for the addition
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MASSACRE Funny Valentine ratings distribution


3.59
(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (17%)
17%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
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MASSACRE Funny Valentine reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Massacre burned brightly for less than 18 months in the early 1980s. They established the blueprint for the avant prog power trio; bridged the gap between 70s European RIO and 80s downtown New York avant garde; threw rock, free jazz, punk, dub and funk into the blender and could make your toes tap and your ears bleed at the same time; released a classic album; gave performances that remain legendary in avant prog circles to this day; then they quit while they were ahead. In short, a tough act to follow.

Reviving the band in the late 90s with Charles Hayward replacing Fred Maher as drummer was always going to be a risky proposition, and this album manages to both please and disappoint. The bad news is that the short, wildly inventive pieces on the debut album have largely been replaced with longer, less focussed tracks, not all of which come off. The good news is that Massacre have not mellowed with age and have moved with the times - this is still fret melting, paint blistering stuff, and the post punk mutant funk/dub rhythms of their first incarnation have been updated. This can be heard most spectacularly on the 11 and a half minute Ladder, where Laswell and Hayward lay down a RIO version of drum and bass over which Frith plays some extremely mean and dirty guitar, sounding like the out and out rocker he could have been in an alternate universe. Elsewhere the trio explore the dark, dubby atmospheres only hinted at in their early work, with Hayward's melodica giving the impression that Augustus Pablo is jamming with Material on South Orange Sunset. For the most part though, this is an album of free jazz workouts using the primary colours of rock music, and as is often the case with such music it is sometimes hard work but rewards careful listening.

The whole thing was superbly produced by John Zorn, with particularly rich and deep bass and drum sounds. If it doesn't quite live up to expectations Funny Valentines is still a powerful slice of avant prog from three masters of the genre at the top of their game. Frith, Laswell and Hayward are incapable of being boring and at their best play with a white knuckle intensity that few of their peers can equal. This album is worth checking out, but definitely non essential.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#110086) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Almost 17 years after Massacre's only album and the group's end, a second album appeared out of the blue (for this writer anyway), and while I had never heard their first, it was on my to-do list for years, but I got to hear this one well before the historic album. Still a big Frith project with the great Bill Laswell backing him on bass, but this time they are joined by the immense Charles Hayward (Quiet Sun and This Heat), this album could only be fantastic, even if the operation was risky for their reputation. And truth be told: it is fantastic!! And to top it all the great John Zorn is producing the album as well.

Right off the bat, Massacre (with opener Leaf Violence) catches you by the throat, transforms it in a stranglehold and gives you only the minimum breathing space as not to choke you to death, but let's face it, your brains will have melted by the end of the album, assured air supply or not (no pun intended ;-). Clearly the group has not taken one wrinkle and every moments sizzle so hard that you wonder whether your speakers will hang on for their lives long enough until the disc has been ejected. Not everything is typical either as the mid section of the third track, called Skin Junk is veering in dub- type of music, but the highlight of the start of the album is the 11-min+ Ladder, where Frith just floats on Laswell's great bass bed and Hayward's frantic drumming, torturing his guitar. Ladder has a bit of a drum'n bass feel( (but over halfway, this digresses into a improv too), and it is up to Frith to take the show with his improvisation skills, which he does amazingly well.

Orange Sunset is a rare breathing moment and the quietest and most ambient track of the album. The sinister Six Cylinder is a slow crescendo, climaxing chaotically before returning to its original jungle-like ambiance. Vacant Lot starts much the same way with Frith almost doing a Fripp, but it is Laswell's show, this time. The album goes on with more superb tracks, which are just as torrid as the previous ones, never releasing the clutch and driving your brains to the overdose. Only the fairly different closing White Arc is slightly weaker, but by that time our brains are clinically dead

This absolutely mental album suffers a bit from its length (and to a lesser extent, the lack of more instruments), but overall, it shines like the sun in the middle of drought, frying everything in sight including what's left of your neurones. Massacre just managed great with what could've been a disaster and was most likely a long shot even for three masters like them. Outstanding and standing out.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#117190) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 03, 2007

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