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Idiot Flesh - Tales Of Instant Knowledge And Sure Death CD (album) cover

TALES OF INSTANT KNOWLEDGE AND SURE DEATH

Idiot Flesh

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.69 | 14 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I’m not really sure what to make of these guys. Which is sort of the point, or at least I think it is. Idiot Flesh is the preincarnation of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and like that band these guys deliver a bizarre and seemingly disjointed mix of sounds, philosophies, theatrics, and assorted nonsense, some of which is actually music.

But much of which is more like a Fred Frith-meets-Art of Noise kind of thing with abrupt and jarring tempo shifts, copious sound effects, and household-implement-as-musical- instrument lineups. I really have a difficult time listening all the way through this thing at one setting, not because it’s necessarily bad, but because it takes too much energy for what it gives back in return. A poor cost/benefit margin, in capitalistic terms.

Some entertainment can be had by trying to figure out where specific tracks, or even snippets of songs, came from. In the opening “Something” for example, there’s some sort of Bowie thing going on there for a while, and the phrase “just give me something, something I can use” could be attributed to Patti Smith’s ‘Easter’ album – or maybe not. The goofy Glockenspiel and percussion on “Artstroking” might be a nod to (or parody of) any number of seventies symphonic bands, or might simply be a flashback to one of the band member’s art-school days. Who knows? There is some guitar work on this one, mixed in with cello, which is quite original and completely opaque as to how it was accomplished. Props for that. And “The Tale” smacks a bit of Talking Heads, maybe more like what Talking Heads would sound like on stimulants and with no particular sense of rhythm.

The highlight of the album, if this album has such a thing, is the lengthy “Housewife”, which manages to lay down a very funky bass line behind vocals that are a mixture of Bowie circa ‘Scary Monsters’; about a hundred of the latter and obscure East L.A. punk bands of the late seventies; maybe a little B-52s, and what appears to be basically a MILF theme. Pretty off-the-wall stuff.

“Heavy Metal Beer” has a very Art of Noise feel to it, with the exception that the guitar is borderline heavy metal at times (to be expected given the title I suppose), and a short passage that appears to be the Civil War-era “Look Away Dixie Land” tune. A few minutes later “The Widening Gyre”, basically an extended drum solo with white noise and industrial sound effects closes the album.

I’m not a big avant-prog fan, and definitely not a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum fan, so this album won’t likely ever make any Best-of lists in my collection. But the artwork is interesting, the general musical concept of the band is worth 15 minutes of fame, and I suppose we need representation at all spectrums of the musical universe to keep things interesting. I’m going to say this is good simply because it is original and well-produced, but it’s certainly not excellent since this style of expression has natural limitations that prevent the band from really growing much (as evidenced by the fact they disbanded a few years after this released). And I wouldn’t recommend it to the general progressive music audience. If you like any of the other artists mentioned here you will probably like these guys; otherwise – you probably won’t.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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