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Randy Greif - Alice in Wonderland Part 4 CD (album) cover


Randy Greif


Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

Dobermensch | 4/5 |


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