Tuesday, June 2, 2020
«« »»
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Ignoble Vermine - A Tribute To Ptose
Format: CD
Distributor: Musea Records
Rated: *****
When I first listened to this CD, I thought it was just one band called Ignobile Vermine. Since the text on the CD cover is all in French, I admit I wasn’t paying too much attention. My first thought was, wow, kind of a diverse band here. After doing a little Internet digging, I found that this was a compilation CD of FIFTEEN different bands over nineteen tracks, all doing a tribute to some band I never heard of called Ptose. (There’s a long line over the "o" in Ptose, if that makes any difference.) My second thought was, "so who the heck is Ptose, and why have I never heard of them"? A little more digging, and I come to find that they’ve been around since 1979, and they’re France’s answer to The Residents, although they seem to have more musically in common with Renaldo and the Loaf than The Residents. That explains a lot of what I thought about the music I heard on the CD. Similarities to The Residents abound. Okay, but since I’ve never actually heard Ptose, all I have to go on is what I think of the music in general, and not how well these bands are "tributing" Ptose. That being said, let me tell you what I think. My sentiment on The Residents has always been mixed. I’ve heard and owned a number of their albums. I’ve seen them live. Some of their stuff can be great, and some amateurishly awful. The tracks on this CD seem to mirror my sentiments to a tee. Rather than go into the track titles, I’ll just focus on the bands. First up, LES HAUTS DE PLAFONDS. Their track is kind of a pop-pourri of a little melody and some schizzy backing tracks over a rhythm machine rhythmic background, which morphs into a different minimal melody with a little spoken word over it. Likeable enough, perhaps one of the more "normal" tracks on the CD. Second track by BOSCO really reminded me a lot off The Residents "Fingerprints" album. More intense drum machine (The Residents as I recall in their early days tended to use played percussion) a buzzy repeating synth bass line, and call & response vocal chanting with a chorus of lower vocals vs. a higher falsetto vocal. Nonsensical perhaps, but still kind of engaging. This may be one of the better tracks on the CD. Has a real vintage Residents feel. LAURENT PERNICE & PAKITO BOLINO are up next with a chaotic noise-driven piece of insanity with some pretty wacky loops avant piano, and a slew of changes that get more interesting each time you listen to it. I’m no real noise fan, but it’s well worth wading through. These guys pack a lot into 3:46. KLIMPEREI have three tracks on this CD. The first begins with a melancholic guitar based melody just seems to peter out once it gets going. The second is a bouncy little circus-style number that reflects Residents style whimsy in the melody with harmonium and guitar juxtaposition. Nice little piece. The last track by them is just a 46 second idea, is cute, but lacks development. Next band, LA SOCIETE DES TIMIDES A LA PARADE DES OISEAUX begins their track with an odd glockenspiel melody, some low woodwinds and ominous guitar staccato picking and scraping. Over that a raspy voice intones, "Here come the boogey-man, he’s going to call you... .". Drums come in and the guitar beefs up, the vocals get more intense and frenetic as the song gets progressively stronger and louder. Very much like Tuxedomoon on a rock-bender with Winston Tong fronting on vocals. Avant rock enthusiasts may like this track very much. I thought it was a little derivative. SERVOVALVE follows with a long, repetitive sequenced synth track that throws some odd percussive elements, processed spoken word, other synth sounds, etc. There just wasn’t enough here to sustain my interest over six minutes. Following that comes LEFDUP ET LEFDUP. This is a pretty cool track, maybe the closest thing to Industrial rock on the entire CD. Real drums (as far as I could tell, or great programming) saxophones, intelligible spooky sort of goth vocals, goofy melody line, but very likeable. I’ve changed my mind, may THIS is the best track on the CD. DELETED follow, and they have two tracks on the CD. Their first track sounded like a melted down jazz orchestra from the 20’s playing some melodic blues riff. Their second track is bit more avant rock in instrumentation and unfortunately ends too soon. They have potential. NORSCQ have the longest track on the CD at 8:23, but not the best in my estimation. I never was much of an "experimental guitar" fan, but if you are, you might enjoy it. To me, it tends to sound like an endless tuning session, and someone that just can’t play. I admit that I just ended up skipping ahead on this track, and it did develop into something with guitar squawks over a bass riff, but for me it was just too much, too little, too late. PIERRE BASTIEN ET MECANIUM was up next, with a creepy, creaky, wheezy little track about a ghost. I wouldn’t doubt the majority of the sonics here were made from violin and saw. Quite inventive. PALO ALTO featuring EMIKO OTA follows. It’s probably what you might expect from a Japanese experimental music artist. Ota has a fair amount of credentials on the experimental music scene, and although the track comes off with a lot less whimsy than the bulk of the material on this CD, it makes for some diversity. Some nice juxtapositions on this one. CHAZAM is up next with a percussion heavy track, thrumping bass line, silly synth lead and chanted vocals in French. Some overdriven lead guitar adds to the mix. Nothing special here. PHONEME offers an eerie little downtempo instrumental synth ditty punctuated by white noise stabs and a low processed vocal at the very end. Nice. TOUPIDEK LIMONADE use a kazoo throughout their track along with recorder, bass, guitar and percussion. Although it sounds like one of the less developed tracks on the CD, it at least brings back some Residents-style whimsicality. DRAGIBUS do the same song as BOSCO did earlier with less effective results. The CD closes out with NON FINITO ORCHESTRA doing a medley of Ptose songs and it certainly sounds like an appropriate ending for this CD. Extremely well done insanity. Maybe THIS is the best track on the CD. Maybe I should go back and listen to the whole CD again. No, on second thought I think YOU should listen to the CD. Available through Musea Records and definitely recommended to Residents fans and fans of avant rock.