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a.P.A.t.T. - The Essential Now That's What I Call an a.P.A.t.T. Christmas Vol 1 CD (album) cover





4.04 | 4 ratings

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4 stars a.P.A.t.T. is quite an off-the-wall project that has been releasing albums and EPs since the turn of the decade. No one really knows what their exact purpose is, but in 2013, they came close to exposing that purpose by performing a piece of music that was composed and played by following the positions of bird droppings (substituting them for notation) on pieces of music manuscript paper. This ended up being a 20 minute performance at the Tate Liverpool art gallery and was called Bird Sheet Music. Are you starting to get the idea?

According to the band's website, "a.P.A.t.T. wears white, but the music is colorful. Redefining notions of success and failure. A restless, relentless take on 21st century music and performance involving deconstruction, reconstruction and ever evolving values." Does that even confuse you more? Then the best thing to do is to just listen to their avant-garde style, which also includes an album of new music composed for the film "Nosferatu". They have also collaborated with other eclectic and avant- rock bands like Secret Chiefs 3, Acid Mothers Temple, and The Sun Ra Arkestra, just to name a few.

In December of 2019, the band finally did the inevitable and released an album of Christmas music called "The Essential Now That's What I Call an a.P.A.t.T. Christmas" which features several tracks recorded through the years by the project until there were 12, one for each day of Christmas. Ahhhh! The first track was recorded in 2006, the next was in 2008, and then there is one for each following year until 2016, giving us 10 total, and then two recorded in 2019. The album warns you "Warning Explicit Christmas Language". The full album runs about 35 minutes.

The album starts off with avant-garde whackiness with several choral voices singing nonsense melodies in other languages and also in the typical Christmas clichés in fake operatic voices. As it continues, the wild craziness continues, happy, joyful songs bubbling over with an overabundance of enthusiasm and memories of opening "prezzies". If it doesn't elevate your soul, it will have you doubled over laughing at how over the top it is. There is the guitar bass playing like a polka-tuba on "Snowin" with wild surf guitars spinning out of control. There's the retro-sounding "Merry Chirstmas (I Still Love You)" that even uses vocal effects to make it sound like an old jazz record, except for the fact that it's dripping with sarcastic happiness, and even a children's chorus joins in.

The only recognizable tune is the cover of "Sleigh Ride" that you just have to listen to believe, like Christmas spirit gone mad with a choir from an asylum, and it even slips into growling vocals and heavy guitars for a few seconds. The other songs, I believe, are original because I don't recognize them, but they definitely rip off the typical sounds of Christmas lampooning them to death and the exuberance is just way over the top. There are a few tracks that might be a little more serious utilizing avant-garde styles for more original sounding tracks like in "Frost Robin" and "Star on the Eucalyptus Tree", but still adding in elements of humor and fractured Holiday joy. "Just Hello" is like someone dumped out a puzzle of mixed up Christmas carols and then put it together into a song that doesn't quite fit together. Then there is the one explicit track (#11) that will remind you that this is not an album you will want to put on when the family visits, basically made up of random dirty words that are fitted together to make hilarious sense with some Christmas references thrown in?..

So, if you want something totally different for Christmas, and if you are not easily offended, and if you have a sense of humor with an appreciation of avant-garde music, then this is for you. It's not something you will probably listen to a lot, but it's good for a laugh or two, plus there is a good amount of off the wall sound throughout. The band calls it "The joke that goes on too long / keeps giving".

TCat | 4/5 |


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