Sounds to Soothe a Nervous Robot

Sounds to Soothe a Nervous Robot

Various Artists

Festival Of Failure Records

With a swank, looped “Hello” followed by the sound of a car-crash, this CD compilation, Sounds to Soothe a Nervous Robot begins its VERY strange journey through the creations of 13 artists. If you have no patience for “exploring” the well-beaten paths of industry-supported musical expression, then find this orange-faced little CD, make yourself a fine afternoon cocktail, and enter these bizarre, alternate dimensions. I’ll give you a little preview tour, so step right this way!

Vostok: C.R.’s “Pink Witch (White Witch)” starts the adventure with a synth-drone and some wave-form under-currents: the name Vostok is appropriate to me because I can imagine some dreamy, vast ice-field within this piece. The next piece, by Niminauh II, enters the realm of the synthesized nightmare, a fun place for some (like myself); it’s a very brief piece and leads to an apparent live “Mother and the Bird Machine” from Dixie Blood Mustache — it’s a work of music you’ll have to hear: “the communication of cybernetic animals in a wilderness vortex” is a close as I can come to “nailing” this one down. Attempting to objectively explain all this stuff is basically folly; the pieces exist wholly within their own realms, although the “feel” of this entire CD is well realized

Despite any simple, cliched “Zen” explanations, we now enter the realm of Danny Thomas. What? “W-Noise” is more of the drony work, this time it’s understated and very ethereal. Oh look, we’re now at Heckinah Degul’s “Born in the Same Dress” which has that morning-after-hangover with possible-clairaudience-noise-of-the-world-quasi-illuminated quality to it. Nice, but you’ll have to understand. Anyway, in this zone we find The Butterfield 8 Project’s build-up of obscure atmospherics and seemingly occultic chant, followed by some “Excerpts From The Day of the Dead Sessions” from the Medaglia D’oro Orchestra: a group that sounds big on CD, but gigantic live. The indeterminate and underlying chaos in most of these “songs” forgoes any but the most esoteric contemplations.

I spoke too soon, here come the Melted Men, barreling down the Melted-Highway in Melted-Land, and you’d better bring along a few extra buckets of the Colonel’s special recipe because you’re going to be needing it. “Turkey to Start Car (An Aural Shishkebab)” is a fine example of the diner on your left with a scratching station-wagon DJ overdrive and some funking hot shrimp basket buffalo-wing broken psychic turntable in a boat fishing for samples of ancient 8-track James Brown-on-speed and here-we-are welcome to my Tent-Revival Lounge in Texas action. Now you’ll need some inspirational piano from Nipples for Days, so here it is.

You’ve been given too much information already, so let me now only inform you that the rest of this CD consists of stuff from The Band with the Drummer Who Was Inspired by the Music on the Album (?), The Noisettes (who have the ambience that sounds right!), The Black Swan Network (ultra weird), and a very powerful final word from Japancakes (with a MIGHTY piece called “Alla Rakha”). My writing doesn’t begin to describe the bizarre lands-within-the-mind that are found on this disc. Find it! Festival Of Failure, P.O. Box 668, Athens, GA 30603-0668; festivalofailure@hotmail.com.

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