The Beta Band

The Beta Band

The Beta Band

Astralwerks

Two untitled, or self-titled releases from the Beta Band.

Is that the fifth grade orchestra tuning up? Hmm, indiscernible dialogue — oops, a koto band floating asea near a stranded synthesist. Disintegration. The set revealed — more indiscernible dialogue — rabid shortwave — was that a jazz band caught in traffic before being run over by a UFO driven temporarily by a woodwind/marimba ensemble?

This must be the cellophane wrestling through a digital delay section. Dreaming about Syd Barrett again I see. Whoa — almost missed the meditational tram in the rain. Near the range, where the harmonica players roam. Until the digital storm moves in.

Oh — a tone-deaf munchkins cabaret! The next bit, uh, I can’t explain, but this is either heavy surf or someone’s very busy in the bathtub.

This is “Happiness and Color,” the first “song”/side of the first release. A lengthy composition backed with another, “The Hut.” Excuse me, what planet is that jungle from? It goes on, don’t make me spoil the end for you.

Another release, ten medium to short length songs, are like the first two mentioned, crammed into a trash compactor and put to odd music. They achieve a unique hi-grade lo-fi tuneage coherency, not intended to be described by strings of adjectives like cute, fun, or intense or bizarre. Occasionally, they’re accidentally catchy, in a twisted, nicely warped way.

Musical attachment or co-dependency is not an issue here. Perhaps it’s M.A.D.D.: Musical Attention Deficit Disorder.

You hit the scan button on your car radio, but it glides from station to station smoothly instead of harshly, even the static is well produced. It never lands on anything near a normal station (these airwaves may not be of this world), wafting seamlessly like a huge stirring vat of psychedelic Beatles’ intros, outros, and segues.

If you want to hear something different — no, make that everything different — give the Beta Band a try. If you don’t like it, wait three seconds and it will change completely.

Astralwerks, 104 W. 29th St., New York, NY 10001; http://www.astralwerks.com

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