audio... C

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Our Bed Is Green

A sprawling 100 minutes of 4-track psychedelia, stretched from sweet ambient acid folk to backwards white noise guitar squeal--with abrupt and audible tape-to-tape dub transitions for that distinctive Fostex (or is it Teac?) flavor. This is the soundtrack to Curiosity in Stout Shoes, begotten of the same flesh and available from the same address.* On the melodic, song-like material, Tom C.'s sonorous strumming and romantic fuzz leads are offset by Christina M.'s breathy, unbuttoned, unhinged vocals, but this description only accounts for a fragmentary (if significant) portion of the 28 tracks**, which also include plenty of introspective guitar noodling, ambiently recorded living room jams, demented Casio abuse, distorted spoken word, Incredible String Band and Rolling Stones covers... which, again, doesn't grab the whole of it. Our Bed Is Green is all over the map, but essentially cohesive, a concept album of many concepts and much beauty and umbilical cord still dripping ooze. "I'm in love and I want you to know that."

* This one-shot zine is no longer available.
** This review was originally for the cassette release, which had extra tracks compared to the CD reissue.

(first appeared in Reign of Toads #3)

Wholly Other, 1205 Crocker, Houston TX 77019 USA;

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Siltbreeze (vinyl) [DRONE ROCK] [ELDRITCH FOLK]

You will likely never see a copy of this limited edition LP, but rumor has it that a reissue to be distributed by Matador is in the works--so cross your fingers and pray. Tom and Christina--who have "produced or collected" all the sounds herein--are married now, hence the title and hence the collaborative exhibitionism that entices one to repeat play of these churning, melodramatic, emotional musics. Humor is applied in "Florian", a Popol Vuh homage (of sorts) that bookends the album, but the found spirituals and thunderous guitar keep the proceedings dark as Christina wails away in the blizzard of sound. --K.S.

(first appeared in Reign of Toads #4)

Siltbreeze, POB 53297, Philadelphia PA 19105 USA

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The Coctails

I used to hate these guys, but then they charmed me with their fake jazz on Long Sound, and now I must admit to the appeal of this release--especially the cute, melodic "Miss Maple" and the glorious, trance-like intensity that builds out of "And You Could". As alternative rock goes, this is quite a worthy effort. Plus they seem to be concentrating more on the tunes and less on the retro art school packaging at which they are also uncannily adept. Go on, check it out. I said you could. --K.S.

(first appeared in Reign of Toads #4)

Carrot Top, 3716 N Greenview, Chicago IL 60613 USA

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Happy Ordeal

Analog noiseforms in the service of a very dark perspective. Where Negativland is political and precise, Condemek is diffuse and open to interpretation. This disk is a no-frills modulation of many amplitudes, raw and, yeah, industrial. The music of alienation and gallows humor. Guitar, electronics, tapes. No good times for you anymore, my friend. For the full effect, you require the video portion of today's broadcast. See Videordeal review. (And please refer to Condemek member Damien Catera's website for thematically-congruent information.) --K.S.

(first appeared in Reign of Toads #4)

Fourth Dimension, PO Box 63, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 6YU UK

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Tony Conrad with Faust
Outside the Dream Syndicate
Table of the Elements (CD) [PROG ROCK] [DRONE ROCK]

Minimalist to the point where you figure the record is skipping... but then it ain't a record is it? Faust provides a supporting role to this exercise in percussion and violin recorded in 1972 at their country retreat in Germany. Of the three tracks, the first and third are echoes of each other, with the middle piece "rocking out" by comparison. Epic prog of the type that would melt an ELP fan's tiny little brain. No guitar solos allowed. Nor vocals. Nor anything, really, except what is necessary. --K.S.

(first appeared in Reign of Toads #4)

Table of the Elements, POB 423838, San Francisco CA 94142 USA

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Cosmic Trigger
Polar Regions

Continuous choirs of angelic voices within a gentle and steady synth envelope. Drones within drones. These voices are saying something--not necessarily in the literal sense, but vibrationally. The amazingly interesting (and almost believable) liner notes evolve the experience so that this CD becomes a tool. The mythology includes a complete listing of the 29 phonemes employed within this recording alongside their corresponding mythological significance. The obscured history detailed within the liner notes alludes to two gentleman who worked in a mine somewhere near the Arctic for 20 years, ended up doing some sort of sense-dep tank and black-room living for another month or so, and then went on to some university sound laboratory where they met up with Andrew M. McKenzie of the Hafler Trio. WSB sums it up on the back cover's collection of quotes: "Humanity may be an outmoded vehicle, but it is still capable of constructing mechanisms that can enable us to leave where we are stuck. This is not an artifact. It is a tool and should be used as such." --S.A.

(first appeared in Reign of Toads #4)

Silent, 101 Townsend St, Ste 306, San Francisco CA 94107 USA

last update 1/17/97
Reign of Toads PO Box 40498 Albuquerque NM 87196-0498 USA