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The Flying Luttenbachers - Constructive Destruction CD (album) cover


The Flying Luttenbachers



3.98 | 5 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars What can one possibly say about one of the strangest bands to hit the rock scene at least since Iggy Pop adopted the role of hacking himself up with sharp objects and then rolling around the stage seemingly possessed by demons. Well, THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS may have kept all their bodily fluids to themselves but musically speaking, these guys were just plain, well nuts! Emerging in the early 90s just as the prog rock scene was starting to awaken from its decade long slumber with bands like Dream Theater and Anglagard shrugging off their sleepy eyes and reviving the lush melodic splendor of glories of yesteryear, THE FLYING LUTTENBACHER on the other hand were a part of a new strain of prog that was designed to wake the dead! The world would never be the same!!!

Founded in Chicago by the drummer / miscreant-in-chief Walter Weasel, THE LUTTENBACHERS took a cue from the frenetic zeal of Japan's zeuhlistic Ruins and other noise rock acts while marrying it with the skronk jazz of John Zorn, the twisted psychotic blues rock of Captain Beefheart and the more caffeinated punk sensibilities of UK's finest anarchic coven of mohawk donning hoodlems. Add a few tablespoons of math rock, a dash of technical death metal and two cups of avant-prog angularity and voila! You have exactly what Walter Weasel meant when he coined the term brutal prog, a style of prog so utterly bombastic with every aspect of the genre is turned up to 11 and going for the jugular incessantly, without stop ad infinitum. Oh yeah, the funny name was derived from original member Hal Russell's birth name which was Harold LUTTENBACHER, however he was long gone by the time this debut CONSTRUCTIVE DESTRUCTION finally hit the market.

Over the years the LUTTENBACHERS have been known for their energetic excesses and a fondness for brutal dissonance and acting as a ring master to force the disparate genres of rock, jazz, avant-prog, noise rock, punk and no wave to perform unthinkable acts together which could be illegal in several US states even. I would also be remiss not to mention of the unfolding tale about a cosmic battle between a void, a behemoth and a giant robot that have been buried in the Earth and will only resurrect after the human race suffers complete annihilation. While the music is completely instrumental, you would have to bother to pay attention to the liner notes and song titles to even have a clue that this is a part of the equation and if you're like me, you couldn't give a rat's ass and just want to hear the saxophones battle like gladiators in an ancient Roman colosseum scenario with each shredding squawk and no wave guitar agonizing like an freshly fed Christian devoured by lions. Quite ugly indeed.

While the LUTTENBACHER project would only grow more brutal and even crazier as time elapsed, on this debut CONSTRUCTIVE DESTRUCTION things are already off to an explosive roar of pent up energy bursting out onto the unsuspecting prog scene. While it's true that band's like Mr. Bungle and Naked City may have served as the appropriate flutters for the Western world, Weasel had obviously been peeking over at our Japanese friends who were already dishing out some highly caustic, bombastic and utterly dissonant orotundity unlike anything heard outside of Godzilla's domain. At this early stage the LUTTENBACHERS were a quintet. Weasel provided the spastic jazzified percussion while Chad Organ and Ken Vandermark parried their saxes like a battle with the White Walkers on Game of Thrones. Vandermark, the overachiever that he was also cranked out some serious bass & b-flat clarinets. Jeb Bishop doubled dipped into the bass and trombone departments while Dylan Posa strangled his guitar until bizarre unthinkable sounds emerged from it's suffocating neck.

Perhaps less bombastic than the later emboldened albums, CONSTRUCTIVE DESTRUCTION is hardly the easy listening experience, however between the John Zorn deconstructive jazz freakouts and the DNA no wave guitar meltdowns, there are actually catchy melodic grooves that take a little funk and apply it to a glorious saxophone duet. Somehow and i'm not sure how they pulled it off, this album comes off a a nice mix of completely unhinged avant-garde incontinence and well constructed jazz-rock where every instrument falls into line like a high school marching band threatened by the looming authoritative overheads with a longer than expected yardstick for some serious slapping of hands. All in all, THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS walked the fine line between carefully constructed compositions and anything goes free form freakery. A fine debut indeed not only for the LUTTENBACHERS themselves but for what would be penned brutal prog with bands like Upsilon Acrux, Hella, Zs, Ahleuchatistas and Yowie following soon in Weasel's footsteps. Hoorah!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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