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RANDY GREIF

Progressive Electronic • United States


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Randy Greif biography
A pioneering artist in the universe of industrial-subversive electronic music. His musical spectrum embraces tranced-out electronic minimalism, noisy abrasive-timbral drones, field recordings, collages and lugubrious sound tribalism. An important musical contribution thanks to a versatile use of concrete sound experimentations. A large catalogue has been published on Staalplaat and Soleilmoon Recordings

Similar artists: Atomine Elektrine, Kluster, Contrastate, Zoviet France, Throbbing Gristle (...)

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Buy RANDY GREIF Music


Alice In WonderlandAlice In Wonderland
Soleilmoon 2010
Audio CD$37.86
$33.86 (used)
A Blind Man's Gallery of MirrorsA Blind Man's Gallery of Mirrors
Audio CD$8.69 (used)
Nail of Pious BrideNail of Pious Bride
Soleil Moon Records 2000
Audio CD$21.99
$21.00 (used)
Randy Greif: Alice In Wonderland No. 4 [CD]Randy Greif: Alice In Wonderland No. 4 [CD]
Staalplaat
Vinyl$18.00 (used)
Randy Greif: Fragment 56 [CD]Randy Greif: Fragment 56 [CD]
Complacency
Vinyl$17.00
Verdi's RequiemVerdi's Requiem
Soleilmoon 1998
Audio CD$23.75
$6.99 (used)
War Of The WorldWar Of The World
Soleilmoon 2008
Audio CD$4.99
$0.95 (used)
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RANDY GREIF discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RANDY GREIF top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Bacteria And Gravity
1987
4.00 | 1 ratings
Alice In Wonderland No. 1
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
Alice in Wonderland Part 2
1991
4.00 | 1 ratings
Alice in Wonderland Part 3
1991
3.91 | 2 ratings
Alice in Wonderland Part 4
1991
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alice in Wonderland Part 5
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Barnacles Inside
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Verdi's Requiem
1997

RANDY GREIF Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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RANDY GREIF Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

RANDY GREIF Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alice in Wonderland Part 4 by GREIF, RANDY album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.91 | 2 ratings

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Alice in Wonderland Part 4
Randy Greif Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars If this were a vinyl record it would cause needle breakage on the 'weirdometer'.

All sweetness and light is stripped away in this re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. It begins with a metallic bang followed by a very creepy keyboard chord which would suit a Victorian haunted house. Lots of tiny manipulated vocals merge in and are so distorted that they barely sound human at all. Mighty booming bells act as the chorus between the spoken narrative.

This is the first of the CD series I heard - a full two years before I managed to hunt down the other 4 parts. Once again it's a highly commendable objet d'art in itself without need of reference to the other installments.

'You Shan't be Beheaded' does that 'phenomes' thing where digitally destroyed vocals are looped and mangled until they gradually pull themselves together until the name of the track is recited. This reminds me a lot of Steve Reich's 'Come Out' from '68 - only here there's a lot of electronic doodling in the background.

Industrial gurglings and looped metallic percussion run rampant on 'What a Pity'. This includes the wonderful line 'She's under symptoms of execution' spoken with Hannibal Lecter like malevolence.

Believe it or not a straight 4 beat drum introduces 'A very Difficult Game' - even though it's relegated to the background, it sticks out like a sore thumb due to being something identifiable. This is more than can be said for the monstrosity of tracks laid on top. A lop-sided, queasy tune that sounds like the 'Residents' is at the foreground as all the while a multitude of garbled voices mumble, drone and screech.

'A Furious Passion' sounds a bit dated with its 80's keyboard 'patches'. This is instantly forgivable as they are relatively insignificant in that this is storyline heavy. It does however sound like 'Coil's' 'Hellraiser' soundtrack in parts. More 'Coil' similarities occur with 'Horse Rotorvator' milatiristic and martial drumming coming to the fore. As a consequence it gets more and more difficult to hear the narration.

Large bendy strings create a very odd atmosphere wherein lie sounds like a huge camera shutter opening and closing. This is a track full of talk about beheading which makes it gloriously bizarre. Church organ chords leave you wondering if Randy Greif is actually an escaped inmate from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest'. Nurse Ratchett would certainly not have 'been amused' at Jack Nicholson listening to this gargantuan heap of madness.

Always considered a children's story, it's incredible to think how dark and frankly disturbing it can be when put in the hands of a madman. Jan Svankmajer's masterful animation from '88 is a case in point. The elements have always been there with which to create a Syd Barret acid smashed dreamscape.

A swirling keyboard, subdued but clear, makes way for more damaged spoken vocals in 'Shall I Try the Experiment'. This time they are slowed down, creating a very dark and unsettling atmosphere - almost like having cathedral gargoyles hanging over your shoulders in impending doom. There's so many great lines that take on an unexpected air of menace throughout. One of my favourites is "I'm doubtful about the temperament of your flamingo". Simple. But totally bonkers.

What might once have been an accordion, shambles and stumbles through 'The More There Is Of Mine, The Less There Is Of Yours'. This one gets quite doom laden amongst talk of 'Mock turtles' and 'Mock turtle Soup' as slabs of one note electronica are laid down while airy horns are blown.

Proceeding get considerably noisier with 'What Fun!'. This reminds me more of 'Coil' circa '87 each time I hear it, with its big booming echoed drums and alien sounding pipes and horns.

Queer thrumming bass strings are thrummed electronically in 'Mock Turtle' as much narrative progression is made which is pleasing, as things were beginning to get quite fragmentary and disjointed.

Things come to a close with 'Laughing And Grief' which has largely echoed drums, percussion and the oddest vocals your likely to hear this side of Cyberman home planet 'Mondas'.

This is definitely not one for children, unless you intend giving them huge nightmares, where they wake up crying in the middle of the night.

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 Alice in Wonderland Part 3 by GREIF, RANDY album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Alice in Wonderland Part 3
Randy Greif Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

— First review of this album —
4 stars Another truly bizarre addition to the 'Alice in Wonderland' 5 CD set. Industrial percussion, despite being relegated to the background plays a big part in the opener 'Sneezing and Howling'. Huge reverberation is used in the instrumentation as the polite, clipped English vocals recite their lines on top.

'Speak Roughly To Your Little Boy' is one of the rare occasions where singing actually occurs. But it's not normal singing by any manner of means, where cat-like vocals screech and wail over some guy putting on a female persona.

'A Handsome Pig' delves further into the eccentric mind of Randy Greif. The grunting of the pig really makes you sit up with rigid back as Alice has a conversation with the creature. The swirling effects used on this track give a dream-like feeling throughout. Irish, Scottish and English accents are used but at all times sound alien, off kilter and unnatural. It's a ghastly sensation and is very difficult to describe.

Thudding drum machines are at the foreground of 'I'm Mad You're Mad' where electronic vocal experimentation takes place as 'Greif' focusses on one of the blackest parts of the tale - madness. He unrelentingly sticks with this part of the story, twisting, stretching and warping the vocals until you feel bludgeoned and believing you're part of his neurosis.

'Dog' utilises digital manipulation of vocals and looped electronics which will either leave you crying out for more or smashing the stop button on your Hi-Fi with a hammer.

'A Grin Without A Cat' makes me wonder if it's the same narrator I've been listening to. The tweakery involved on all vocals is so veiled and delicate that at times they sound like different characters. A good slab of queazy electronic doom plays fervently in the background during this track until slowly but surely manifests itself to the foreground as all vocals perish.

What sounds like a Tibetan singing bowl introduces 'I Sleep When I Breathe'. Deeply disturbing looped Alice vocals are underpinned by wolf-like growls. This is the 'Mad Hatters' part of the tale. It's also possibly the most disconcerting and perplexing part of this entire volume. Many voices are at play amongst the discussion between Alice, The March Hare, the Mouse and The Mad Hatter. A profoundly, disturbing sequence follows with mashed up black vocals as huge slabs of electronic noise batter from ear to ear.

Lots of chiming bells and non-acoustic percussion introduce 'Tea Tray In The Sky' as warped, malformed spoken words are squeezed through various electronic filters. Continuously morphing effects run riot throughout this track.

Some semblance of tune is restored with 'Treacle', where bouncy little chime-like bells dart around in a display of extreme panning.

Mutated bongo drums and odd wooden percussion make up the final 8 minutes of this seriously damaged reccording 'The Cool Fountains' has indecipherable lyrics that are so mashed and distorted that it's impossible to make out a single word. This may be slightly better than parts one and two but again its another solid four stars.

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 Alice in Wonderland Part 2 by GREIF, RANDY album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Alice in Wonderland Part 2
Randy Greif Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

— First review of this album —
4 stars Part two of the 6 hour marathon that comprises Greif's magnum opus. It continues exactly where part one finishes. The clever thing about the construction of the story is that all 5 parts sound great as stand alone entities. You don't necessarily need to have heard part one before listening to this.

It must have been sheer hell putting a collection of discs like this together over 5 years. It would have been so easy to lose interest and just rush it it to completion. That, coupled with the fact that there were serious limitations 20 years ago in composing computer based music.

The idea was hatched in '88 when Greif found an old 3 LP audio book of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' which he used for the experimental manipulation of vocals.

Like part one this is full of loops, cut ups and clanking industrial noises which leaves us with an almost horror movie soundtrack. The narration is always engulfed in phonemes. (The smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, like the 'm' of mat and the 'b' of bat.). Spoken narration is digitally de-constructed into mumbo-jumbo and is gradually brought back together again, usually over 3 or 4 minutes. This occurs frequently throughout all 5 volumes and is, in itself, very spooky in its self repeating fragments.

This is a slightly dated recording due to the technology used during the tail end of the '80's. It's continually freakish, sometimes too freakish but at all times is always entertaining and hugely original. Thankfully each 70 minute cd is broken up into individual tracks otherwise it would have been very hard to endure.

One of the few musical similarities I can cite are 'The Hafler Trio' - who's work is more austere, academic and a lot less fun. 'Alice in Wonderland' was clearly a labour of love for Randy Greif where, despite his attention to detail, does sound a bit clumsy at times - bumping into walls and tripping over it's feet. The most inspired thing about it is that he highlights the darker parts of the narrative, dwelling on them for minutes on end and rubbing it in your face for good measure.

Play this late at night as you're trying to get to sleep and I can guarantee you the weirdest of dreams involving spiders and disembodied creatures. The spoken vocals, with their ultra-odd cut ups and juxtapositions are as close to the dream experience as music ever gets.

And isn't it nice to see Stephen Hawking making a welcome contribution on 'The Fish Footman'?

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 The Barnacles Inside  by GREIF, RANDY album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.00 | 1 ratings

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The Barnacles Inside
Randy Greif Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

— First review of this album —
4 stars This is one messed up album. And that's something coming from me.

Ultra strange groaning sheets of electronic feedback are at play during 'The Story Of Amber And Tom A. ' This is basically like traveling through a time tunnel. Not backwards, but forwards to a land devoid of humanity, where only clocks prevail. Loud screeches of electronic skullduggery will batter you around the head until submission in this queerest of queer albums. All sounds are electronic in nature. You're not going to find a drum, bass, guitar or vocal anywhere around here.

Loads of mental spliced and diced vocals are cast around like birdseed amongst a truly crazed backdrop of clicking and tocking of big fat beefy clocks leaving the listener shattered after only 5 minutes. Huge slabs of tuneless bass and clipped snippets of distorted vocals are prominent. Rapidly looped vocals occur continuously creating a sickly atmosphere as 'the Benz' starts crushing my skull with all that crazed looped cycling of literally everything that's played.

A crazed clock factory with chiming tiny bells is the only way to describe 'I Know What Beuys Likes'. A massive swooping bass attempts to destroy everything in its path but those looped chimes and bells make their way to the forefront, damaged and broken beyond repair. Strange bloops and squeaks make their presence felt as a mighty underwater drum drowns out those chimes. We're left with a harsh metallic banging that gives way to those pretty little clocks.

A ghostly atmosphere permeates 'The Numbers Cage'. From its hair-raising opening it quickly devolves into loud metal banging indignation with warped tom-foolery which morphs into staccato piano stabs without any semblance of tune.

For the uninitiated this really could be torture noise from the depths of hell. For those of us with a more enlightened mind, it's really quite therapeutic.

'The Stain That Darkens' has a groaning deep sea diving feel to it. It's so deep and heavy that you almost feel you're at the base of the Marianis Trench with solid metal just about imploding into your face.

I've no idea what 'The Insect-Like Actions Of Children' is all about. It's just of unsound mind - where electronic whistling echoed notes are deranged beyond recognition.

The hugely looped 'My First Prison Riot' means as much to you as it does to me. I'm lost here. This guy's completely away with the fairies... Swirling loops of what was once music is twisted and broken. Little children shout, Hammering drums intrude. Men and women wail.

A soft pneumatic drill with squeaky bleeps and electronic phases introduce 'A Dangerous Level' This is quite 'Nurse With Wound' 1992 sounding. Randy Greif however has a more organic sound and has far more going on.

'The Barnacles Inside' is one truly mental album only suited to the most open minded of listeners. Most folk will find this an abomination of noise, Luckily for me I find it a thing of beauty.

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 Alice In Wonderland No. 1  by GREIF, RANDY album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Alice In Wonderland No. 1
Randy Greif Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

— First review of this album —
4 stars Gosh, where on earth do you start with such a sprawling monstrosity as this? 'Alice in Wonderland' is a series of 6 full length cd's comprising the entire story by Lewis Carroll narrated by some guy I've been trying to find the identity of for 16 years with no luck.

The style of this album would have to be classed as electronic experimental, tape looped, electro acoustics and avant garde in the extreme. This is the way I always believed this story should have been told - in dark, creepy overtures, oppressive and malignant throughout. Not the bright Disney styled mush that most people are familiar with.

This was the most expensive set of cd's I ever bought and it was back in '96 - where, if you bought the first 4, you got number 5 free by cutting off a bit of the card cover and sending it to owning label 'Staalplaat' in Amsterdam. Do I regret buying it ? Always...

That is until I play it once a year and remember that it's something of a masterpiece and is one of the few sets of cd's I'd least want to lose amongst the 4000+ I own, Honestly... How this guy managed to put this whole disorientating construct together is beyond me. Part One - as shown above, starts as it means to go on with a posh English accent which is diced and electronically chopped up as slabs of sound and un describable instruments are looped and twisted beyond recognition, leaving you feeling like you've just drunk a bottle of gin.

In some ways this would have been an ideal soundtrack to Jan Svankmajer's 'Alice' film from '88 but somehow this feels far more crushing and heavy. What makes this even better is the fact that the voice of Alice sounds so tiny and vulnerable amidst the monstrous noise surrounding her.

The recording quality seems to ebb and flow, where it's increasingly difficult to hear the narrator in some parts across some of the cd's. In other parts it's crystal clear. Perhaps this was part of Greif's masterplan? Who knows what went on in his mind. It sounds to me like he was running out of places to hide the bodies...

All I can say is that this is some of the weirdest bunch of stuff I've ever heard. Take the 'Residents' from the 70's then add some acid. And Hey... if you wanna buy it, forget it. This has been out of circulation for years now. It only had a criminally low pressing of 500 at the time. Look on the bright side - if you can find this one then it's pretty much the same throughout. If someone played you a track from one of the six you'd be hard pushed to define which cd it originated from.

The good news is that it sounds like it could have been released in 2012. It hasn't dated in the slightest - probably due to the fact that there are no instruments used at all. Not only that but if you find this original you get the most wonderful fold out origami card sleeve which displays a lot of weird and incongruous images.

Four stars for this release. But a Five overall for the set.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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