Music Reviews



Artist: MGM
Title: The Addams Family Vol. 2
Format: DVD
Label: MGM
Rated: *****
This is a second volume that picks up where volume one left off. Television first American fiendish favorite family is back for more frightful hair-raising fun and to terrify their neighbors and people. Get ready for a macabre ghastly giddiness. Favorite ghoulish episodes form Lurch's harpsicord is donated to the museum; Morticia donates unique Addams items to a charity; Uncle Fester gets a toupee to impress his pen pal; Lurch becomes a pop teen idol and learn the price of being famous; and Gomez runs for mayor. An enjoyable 21 episodes on a 3 discs set collection that's delightful to see. A 541 minutes to watch. The Addams Family is a cult tv classic. They maybe spooky, abnormal and weird, but lovable.


Disc 1 Side A:
1. Thing is Missing
2. Crisis in the Addams Family
3. Lurch and His Harpsichord
4. Morticia, the Breadwinner

Disc 1 Side B:
5. The Addams Family and the Spaceman
6. My Son, the Chimp
7. Morticia's Favorite Charity
8. Progress and the Addams Family


Disc 2 Side A:
9. Uncle Fester's Toupee
10. Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor
11. Lurch, the Teenage Idol
12. The Winning of Morticia Addams

Disc 2 Side B:
13. My Fair Cousin Itt
14. Morticia's Romance, Part 1
15. Morticia's Romance, Part 2
16. Morticia Meets Royalty


Disc 3 Side A:
17. Gomez, the People's Choice
18. Cousin Itt's Problem
19. Halloween, Addams Style
20. Morticia, the Writer

Disc 3 Side B:
21. Morticia, the Sculptress

Special Features:
* Commentary: On select scenes by Thing and Cousin Itt
* Commentary: On "Morticia Meets Royalty" by Steven Cox, author of "The Addams Chronicles"
* Featurette: "Mad About The Addams"
* Tombstone Trivia: On "Morticia's Romance" (Part I)
* Bonus: Guest Star Seance with Parley Baer, Milton Frome, Vito Scotti, Elizabeth Frazer, Richard Deacon, Sig Ruman, Margaret Hamilton, Elvia Allman, Eddie Quillan and Peter Bonerz


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Artist: The Legendary Pink Dots
Title: Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves
Format: CD
Label: ROIR
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****

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Edward Ka-Spel regrouped his Dots last year (including long-time members Phil Knight and Martijn de Kleer) for a 25th anniversary U.S. tour, releasing this album for the occasion. Premature Graves is as darkly minimal as a stage set for a Beckett play, calculated to induce an existential complex upon the uninitiated. From the grave, dub-inflected second track "No Matter What You Do" through the hungover susurrations of "Please Don't Get Me Wrong" to the sad acoustic guitar of "The Island of Our Dreams" and beyond, Ka-Spel takes you on a broken-brained journey in his trademarked, affected English lilt -- as only the likes of Syd Barrett or Peter Gabriel in his Genesis days could have previously embarked upon, perhaps with Genesis P-Orridge driving the bus. "Stigmata (Part 4)" is the deepest, darkest spot on the record, a slow, grieving hymn set to piano, synth and organ. There is an oddly folky, nursery-rhyme quality in places; you hear a schoolyard full of children keening behind a childlike piano melody on the opener, "Count On Me." This and its twin with an identical piano line, "Your Number Is Up," bookend the whole disc, but this merely establishes the institutional, asylum-like setting within which Ka-Spel's reveries of quiet, personal desolation and madness unfold.

The lyrical theme is a disturbed stew of musings on redemption, forgiveness, and the ravages of time on mind and body, mumbled and whispered from the point of view of a disturbed man's memories. A few of the sing-song and narrative elements are whimsical enough to hearken back to '60s psychedelia; the more lighthearted track "Feathers at Dawn" makes it tempting to think of this album as a darker, more dissonant and somber cousin to the Small Faces album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. But a broad range of percussion, instrumentation and sonic textures covers an equally broad range of styles, making this disc difficult to categorize, and justifiably so.

Toward the end of the CD, "The Made Man's Manifesto" lifts you up with arrangements and effects anomalous to the rest of the record, from its staccatto distorted-organ riff to its lazy, lolling slide guitar. From mid-song it all jells and goes riding into the sunset, culminating in an extended jam, a genuinely inspiring bit of relief from the gloom. Imagine a more perfect union amongst Industrial minimalism, psychedelic guitar and a better, more virtuous touch of New Age, and we pretty much have the picture.

As far as the tour and this record is concerned, the LPD remain an item to watch, for refusing to be put in a box all these years, and fans ought not to have been the least bit disappointed. A long, strange trip indeed.
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Artist: GREG DAVIS & JEPH JERMAN
Title: Ku
Format: CD
Label: Room40
Rated: *****
This collaborative cd by Davis and Jerman could be puzzling if you only know the former's more melodic and electronic works released by Kranky and Carpark, but makes perfect sense if you consider the "Leaves" series (devoted to field recordings and "environmental improvisation") on his own Autumn Records, and of course Jerman's present and past activity (as Hands To and Animist Orchestra). "Ku" features three lengthy track of edited and layered improvisation mostly based on natural objects (sticks, stones, seeds, shells, pine cones... there must be something containing water as well...), plus prepared instruments, some percussion and also electronics, though its presence to the ear remains minimal or barely audible. Things start rather quiet with the first strata, a series of tiny sonic dots which sounds like a warm-up to the chaotic, highly energetic flow of rumblings, falling objects, scrapings and non-conventional drumming (part of Jerman's background, remember) of the second piece. After so much entropy, the third strata puts you in a pensive state with its droning gongs and bowed metals, before returning to a set of more abrasive and convulsed sounds in its second half. Woodland free-jazz, anyone?
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Artist: NEUMÁTICA
Title: Alud
Format: CD
Label: Creative Sources
Rated: *****
Alfredo Costa Monteiro, here at "pick-ups on turntable", may well be one of the loudest, meanest improvisers around. Even when he plays a plain accordeon, he manages to raise some serious hell. Here, he teams up with Pablo Rega, at "home made electronic devices", for a wisely short and to the point cd (three tracks, 37'50") documenting a performance given in Barcelona in 2005. If you're familiar with Costa Monteiro's other duo Cremaster, you can have a hint about how "Alud" sounds: a flow of menacing noise, be it hisses, crackles, gurgles or metallic low-end rumbles. It could even be labelled "harsh noise", but bear in mind this has a lot of nuances and microscopic details that are usually lost in full-on noise releases. Again, if you know other releases of Costa Monteiro's, you'll know what to expect, which is the only drawback I see in this powerful and radical performance.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: I, Mute Hummings
Format: CD
Label: Ex Ovo
Rated: *****
Though my review comes awfully late, let's say that this sampler (assembled by the Ex Ovo imprint, run by Mirko Uhlig/Aalfang mit Pferdkopf and Tobias Fischer/Feu Follet) is one of the best assorted collections of drones released last year, and grows with every new spin. The subtitle says "a collection of drone music and dulcet atmospheres", which pretty much sums it up, but possibly doesn't convey its variety. All tracks are unreleased and their quality-wise goes from good to excellent, so this is surely worth your time and money. Contributions range from the angst-ridden stasis of Keith Berry, Dronaement (a brilliant piece, this one!) and Paul Bradley, to the guitar-generated soundscapes of Fear Falls Burning and Troum, from the painful string scraping of Column One (sounding like Organum on a terrible mood), to the well-assembled remix of Jeffrey Roden's bass sounds by Feu Follet. Add two illustrious guests like the former Tangerine Dream member Steve Jolliffe, with flute tones revised by Uhling, and Moog-music pioneer Richard Lainhart, with a remix of his "White Nights", and you'll get a brilliant collection, not necessarily aimed at die-hard drone fans only.
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