This reviews section is a combination of some of the reviews from the original zine, and a few new ones. If you think you would like to post a review, please feel free to send it to me and I'll post it here. Some more friends will be posting stuff soon. It'll be a party.

Included this time:

The Beatles

Henry Urbach Architecture

Venetian Snares

"Street Market": Barry McGee Todd James Stephen Powers

Stunt Rock

Matthew Ritchie

Kid 606 / Christoph de Babalon

Gastr Del Sol

El Loco Burrito

The Rose Center for Earth and Space, American Museum of Natural History

The Beatles

"The All White Album"

Apple Records

Apparently nobody has heard of this new band in town. They started in London doing this mock-blues thing called "rock" and then crosses the "pond" to start fresh over here. They call themselves "The Beatles" and have a new record that's really out of sight. In an obvious reactionary gesture to Metallica's all black album cover, "The Beatles" have issued an all white album cover that we'll just have to call "The All White Album" for lack of anything better to call it.

This "All White Album" is a strange trip through myriad musical styles and conventions moving from their accepted "rock" style to more experimental soundscapes ("Revolution No. 9") which seem indebted to bands like Olivia Tremor Control and underground noise group Nurse With Wound, but just about everything musically in-between can be heard at one point or another. Take "Rocky Raccoon", a playful, almost-song-and-dance-man-type romp about a renegade raccoon or "As my guitar gently weeps", an earthy ballad conjuring the memory of Cat Stevens. It's these transitions between the many musical forms seem to fascinate the Beatles with songs like the raucous drug-fueled "Helter Skelter" (a song no-doubt penned after the Manson killings of 1968) smashing right into "Long, Long, Long" a quiet, soulful love song written in hushed tones. The strange combination of Breeders cover tune "Happiness is a warm gun" and "Martha my dear", an antiquated song fit for a geriatric tea party, seem to call for a general reexamination of society today. Indeed, it seems that just about every type of music you could put on an album is located somewhere on this "All White Album".

These Beatles seem to have a solid fan-base back in England, so maybe their music will catch on here in "the states". This reviewer certainly hopes so and looks forward to listening to many more releases from this fabulous foursome.

Henry Urbach Architecture

526 West 26th St. Room 1019

New York, New York, USA


Henry Urbach Architecture is an art gallery located in the Chelsea section of NYC. It primarily shows artworks about (surprise!) Architecture. Just about every time I've been there I haven't heard of the person showing, but also just about every time I've gone there I've tended to consider it among the best work of the day. There's something terribly prescient about alot of the work, like if you didn't pay attention you'd miss out on some sort of life-type thing. Like you'd wake up one day and say to your self, "I feel somehow incomplete. Would I like a bagel anyways? Sure."

( This review is also on the website)

"Doll, Doll, Doll"

Venetian Snares

Hymen records

Personally speaking, I think that Venetian Snares is one of the best producers on the planet, and this new release is surely proof. Ideally seen as some sort of concept record about child killers, "Doll, Doll, Doll" is a collection of 4 of the most brilliant hardcore songs around.

The Snares man starts it off with "Dollmaker" which starts out light, with peppy brushed jazz drums and piano, then darkens with strikes by a string section, slowly, this unusual heavy metal sound is punctuated by harsh distorted Bass hits and the super-fast breaks are forewarned by a grisly rap section. This is what electronic music is all about; the collision of styles, ideas, and musical forms old and new.

"Dolleater" and "Interstellar Narcotics" use your usual electronic sounds, but Snares arrangement and experiments with time signature and song structure make both of these songs slip and slide around conventions, delivering an uneasy experimental but fully hardcore sound. "Befriend a Child Killer" is sprinkled throughout with a truly haunting vocal sample of some sort of cinematic demon speaking about spirits that kill children, and those "not wearing the shape of a man". Regardless, it's a virtual lesson of how to build a song up, gaining intensity and momentum and then drop the fucking shit as hard as it comes. Skittering beats and distorted death bass jump and punch unrelentingly.

The best thing about Venetian Snares is that while this album may be among is best recorded material, his numerous other records are almost just as good (Ok, maybe it's a tie with "ShitFuckers" on Dyslexic Response).

"Street Market"

Barry McGee Todd James Stephen Powers

Deitch Projects

76 Grand St. New York City

Oct. 5 - Dec. 2, 2000

When you walk through the door of the posh and slightly nauseating Deitch Projects you are confronted by three shitty delivery trucks, all overturned on their sides, their roll-doors open the remaining burnt oil in their crankcases spilled to the floor. The huge words "Golden Pedigree" painted twenty feet high on the walls, and against the back corner of the gallery on a platform is a whole row of dilapidated liquor store, bodega and check cashiers seemingly airlifted from El Barrio into the gallery. All this shit was somehow made by these three artists, and I'll be damned it I wasn't spell bound by all of it.

To begin with, The very act of overturning trucks in the gallery is the most punk rock gesture that I've seen in a long while. Then to dress them up (one filled with used porn mags and a dirty mattress another turned into a makeshift "office" and the third a squat for some derelict) to look like the very real settings of the rundown inner city, where life can be horribly cruel and yet sort of understandable is both touching and vulgar. Many of the artists come from a graffiti background, and the terrain that they've brought into the gallery reenacts the locales they've spent much time painting and tagging in. Inside the joke of an arcade (inside, a broken driving game is locked with think chain and a "club") are the framed jumpsuits and shoes of three of the most famous wild-style type graffiti artists of the late seventies/early eighties.

But while this artist re-engineered skid row is hard and dirty, it has a certain sense of humor to it. Outside the store are two "Ride-'em" toys in the shape of brass knuckles and an Uzi. Inside the store the labels on the products have mostly been forged to include cans of "SHIT!" and bottles of "Dignity". While many of the stickers, tags, general detritus is real; some are fake, calling many issues into question.

One has to wonder how the people who live in such an environment would feel about the nature of how their very real lives are portrayed. The line between "keepin' it real" and parody runs close here, threatening to cross many times. Perhaps the only people ridiculed here are the cash-money types leaving the safety of their Uptown and Soho Lofts to see how the other half lives, if only inside a gallery. Maybe the galleries and Institutions that have come calling (the show has almost sold out, buzz is rampant) are in many ways becoming so hyper-hypocritical now that they will only allow themselves to see the poor as repackaged by a slick (white) gallery owner.

These issues and alot more are being raised by these three artists, yet I don't feel like they are being reckless or even ironic in their stance toward their own work or the system in place for celebrating it. If anything they, like past anti-conformist artists like Gregory Green and Tom Sachs, are trying to break down the system from inside, are trying to show the art scene for what it is (an insiders club) and for what it does (a chosen few dictate the "trend" to the unsophisticated but cash heavy). What better "fuck you" gesture than selling an overturned moving van to a wealthy parvenu. What better way to embrace contemporary America than to sell a corner store full of "SHIT!" to a European Museum? What better way to show up the lily-white New York gallery machine than by selling works based on low-class immigrant poverty? How fucking cool is that?

"Really political well produced super emotional maximum terror breaks LP"

Stunt Rock

Addict Records

Ok, listen up. Whatever started in Europe with hardcore was great, but the real deal has landed in the upper section of the American Midwest. A land of milk fed farm boys, beer swilling rednecks, cheese heads, hockey fans, and then there's Detroit- a hell on earth if there ever was one. But this often overlooked section of the American heartland has cultivated a whole slew of new labels pumping records out fast, and just about all of them fucking rule. One of the very best is Addict, from which the sixth release is by Stunt Rock.

"Really political well produced super emotional maximum terror breaks LP" is sort of like a Richard Pryor performance from the seventies, in that it's very harsh, very funny, rough around the edges, and sort of has a point. Stunt Rock's music is composed of your usual assortment of Amen breaks and movie samples, but the catch is (1.) That the arrangement of the samples is jarring, sloppy, and belligerent in intent (2.) Conceptually telling with an insider joke type smirk, and (3.) Really funny, amusing, and very crass. The song titles themselves add a level of attitude such as: "Really hard noisy breaks don't cover up for lack of talent, or do they?" or "Anyone who names a track 'so & so can kiss my such and such ass can kiss my (adjective) (noun) ass."

While there certainly are low moments to this record, the highs seem to overshadow them, with my favorite being: "I can't believe I ate you out". The song is a really harsh abstraction of fast breaks punctuated by people saying things about handjobs, which then turns into some sort of fucked up nursery rhyme song. Whether he knows it or not, I think Stunt Rock has more in common with the French experimental quartet Dat Politics than he would expect. They both explore samples very far from the normal "cool" electronic sources and they both will take a song and split it up into all these parts that don't match up, but just barely work with their own logic.

All this said, Stunt Rock does something so rarely done in electronic music, especially in Hardcore, he uses a self depreciating humor to expose the ridiculous conventions of this genre, and thus opens it up to expansion in new directions.

{Matthew Ritchie has a new show up an Andrea Rosen Gallery, so I thought I'd re-run this review. It appeared in ARTPAPERS, awhile ago.}


Matthew Ritchie

Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta Ga.

Matthew Ritchie's "Omniverse" takes the form of a massive drawing in thin, black marker directly on a large curved wall. "Omniverse" in simple terms is the beginning, history and destruction of the entire universe. In order to represent such massive forces and universal constants Ritchie has mythologized and personified these elements into an incredibly confusing and ultimately rewarding cast of 49 characters. In order to account for all possible variables (!) Ritchie cross references each character from its humanly trait (lust, greed, love) to its corresponding element on the Periodic table or its function in physic equations.

Bearing in mind the daunting task of narrating a chart composed of complex symbols, personal iconography, and personified variables, "Omniverse" starts from the lower right with a single cell. This cell splits, germinates like an ordinary bean, multiplies to a typewriter-like ball, and then explodes. As linearly as we can go, the first two major events are Lilith, the symbol for mutation, and Lucifer, the angel of light. From light and mutation spring a huge human body, representing infinity, ensnared with a massive serpent of fire named Leviathan, representing chaos.

In the center of this body we see a large disk filled with rock-plate-like abstractions. On its surface are three spheres (one with a single point in its center, one with a line tracing its diameter, and one with a fully formed pyramid; or the x, y, and z coordinates) and three characters, the "Angel of Numbers" (measure), Tamuel (change) and Soriel (reproduction). This grouping acts as a legend for how matter is perceived and how objects are indexed in space. Around the perimeter of the infinity body, are various other characters, a section of the periodic table, and numerous paths, ribbons and labels forming a complex biological knot entwined with the larger figures.

Spelling the beginning of the end, the bottom of the Infinity body becomes engulfed in abstracted vegetation, and as life becomes more organic; it splinters off into geometric representations of what Ritchie refers to as the "7 Earths". This last Earth follows a rubble trail off to an adjacent wall where the last character, Multiciber (the engineer of all things and embodiment of creation), a creature assembled of stones floats fractured in a void.

Yet Ritchie doesn't end it there. On the floor below Multiciber's floating fragments rests a plastic abstracted version of the human brain, thus plotting this story not only as the history of the universe, but as a map of human conscience and the science of nomenclature.

But irony is not lost on Ritchie. The absurdity of charting the whole universe and accounting for all outcomes is coupled with very human responses in the form of familiar super beings (near look-alikes of "The Human Torch" and "Thor"), but coupled with the mythological intentions and associations of cross-cultural ancient mythology. Ritchie points to the history by which humans have organized and classified knowledge, first by intensifying these universal constants, then by constructing them in a very late 20th Century western way.

High and Low culture are not necessarily married in this work, but are at least on speaking terms. Classical figurations meld with the precision of technical drafting and engineering to create a methodically logical bio-interpretation of a wholly unknowable "reality". The succinctness of a table or chart is undermined by a constant nagging for the linear which Ritchie's timeline vaguely follows, unable to completely transcend the beginning, middle, and end story line he has laid out. However his approach does get close to demonstrating the holistic synchronicities resulting in the formulations, mutations and reproductions of matter from the universal down to the human.

After Ritchie delivers his philosophies to the viewer, he then begins to play with how ideas are represented and how we as viewers reassemble it in our collective consciousness. As an artist, Ritchie is well aware of art history and what an artistic gesture is worth. Many of his painted forms have everything to do with how art history has dealt with abstraction, to which Ritchie cross pollinates with the biological diagram, the architectural study, the mapping of coefficients. By drawing with line only Ritchie transcends the hierarchy of art making, sharing intentions closer to engineering and mathematics, remembering when art was only an extension of the sciences. It is this grouping that Ritchie strives to belong, not only to the history of Pollack, Newman, and Duchamp but of Aristotle, Homer and Hawking.

Kid 606/Christoph de Babalon

Split 12 Inch

Fat Cat Records

The two artists face off on rival sides of this disk, with Christoph de Babalon pulling off a more experimental sound than his usual DHR speed-beats. Yes, there are some of those precious beats here, but this time they're mixed with a dark ambient piece with layered strings and a strange beat/noise piece that starts it all of. The best thing about these 4 new songs is that they have more of a rock feel rather than the often dubby sound of Drum and Bass.

In contrast Kid 606 does something unmentionable in the music world: he uses someone else's schtick. Four of the six songs on his side use the Oval sound of skipping and abused CDs. Another features flowing keyboards and the last has an electro beat with random noise interruptions of the AM radio variety. The catch with these CD type tracks is that he's doing something very different than Oval with similar technology. These songs sound more aggressive, yet also have more of a pop quality. You may find yourself even singing along. This 12" is worth finding.


Gastr Del Sol

1998 Drag City Records

Camoufleur, the latest [and last] recording by the renowned nearly experimental, nearly rock group Gastr Del Sol, could be the most wonderfully composed and selected work by the band to date. With an outstanding track record, a willingness to experiment with song structure, instrumentation, voice, and the play between chaos + beauty, melody + monotone remaining a constant through out their 6 year span, Camoufleur emerges as the now trio's most successful, and thoughtful enterprise.

Hitherto consisting of David Grubbs and Jim O'Rouke, the group's dynamic seems to have grown with the included presence of new member Markus Popp. Whom brings to this recording a more dynamic usage of electronically based sounds. His trademark sound (sampled and sequenced sounds of a CD player being manually scanned) fruitfully manifested in his other band truly adds new dimension to the more standardized use of guitar and supplemental rock instruments that the group has been deconstructing through out their previous releases.

The feel to this record however is different from past albums. Yes, guitars are amply used, but the overall feel to this record is not 6-string based. In fact, a whole ensemble of instruments are arranged to deliver a sound blending the hyperactive excitement of experimental electronic music, the charm of wind and string quartets, and the sincerity of piano compositions, perfectly congealing into a new type of pop-symphonic harmony.

This new combination in sound blends to deliver a more human emotion than past recordings, in fact, "Camoufleur" feels like the transitions between seasons. The wonderful and sullen progression from hot to cold (and vice versa) happens only twice a year, usually signaling personal modification or evaluation in the wake of the impending changes. This uncertain, highly prized change in weather can be seen not only as an emblem representing this album in particular, but also as a metaphor for the recurring aims of the group. Wildly connecting a joyous essence with the grayer shades of melancholy, the conversations and diverse goals set forth by this collaborative effort have blossomed with every new recording, showing steady and healthy growth at each marker.

Gastr Del Sol's records have always been fairly succinct in format, but the seven songs on this album could arguably be the most eloquent and encapsulating assembly yet. Easily and immediately hummable, each song holds numerous subtleties waiting to reveal themselves over repeated listening. After playing the record endlessly, one still finds little horns, guitars, and noises tucked away in the back or side speakers.

The album abruptly starts with The Seasons Reverse, a fast bongo-laced vaguely jungle-esque song about the reshuffling of the seasons through retrospective memory. The pulsating off beat guitar strum becomes violently joined about mid-way through by a free-jazz trumpet and steel drum duet. Gradually and abstractly, the song bleeds into an awkward taped conversation between lead singer Grubb and a young French boy:

{Firecracker reverberations} [English responses only]

I don't speak French


Don't worry, keep, keep doing it, I'm just recording you doing it. It's a microphone,

Oh. Oh, what time?

This? It's a microphone. I'm recording you blowing off firecrackers.

Is it OK?

Is it ok if I record you firing off the firecrackers?

I don't know what time it is,

Sorry, I'm Sorry?


No. No keep go...

keep, keep, blowing them up,

I only speak English,

I'm sorry.

"Blues Subtitled No Sense of Wonder" begins with light electric beeping, goes to a thoughtful piano and then the lyrics. Grubb sings about the inability to feel, the tenacity of numbness, and the inevitable realization that numbness is in fact an experience just as valid; boring, but valid. The song builds from the introspective piano to a tightly arranged chorus of strings, high winds and vocals to then drain back to the beeping subtly changed which also subsides. The instrumental, "Black Horse", seems designed in the vein of complex string and wind arrangements similar to an early Phillip Glass composition, yet voiced in a very vernacular manner, falling somewhere between Appalachian and Irish folk fiddling.

The opening organ and horn arrangement of "Each Dream Is An Example" sounds expertly appropriated from a Burt Bacarach record, then with the addition of a low reed, bares itself as a trademark Brian Wilson 'pet'-sound, joining in and then bleeding out in a wonderfully tense and precious recorded moment. This piece, along with most of the tracks on the album, is subtly punctuated by the abstract noises of Markus Popp, glinting to the surface for a few moments.

The country twang of "Mouth Canyon" also rings with the shimmer of Popp's samples, but is firmly anchored by the true and round tone of guest French horn player Jeremy Ronkin. The song disintegrates into "A Puff of Dew", whose time signature is punctuated very stealthily by a distant drum-kit, shriveling and growing occasionally with the attachment of an accordion, creating a delirious syncopated tempo.

The sample evaporates; "Bauchredner" begins with the true-blue John Fahey inspired complexity of a guitar solo endlessly repeating the glissting of the higher strings. This settles nicely in line with a kind of Indy strait-up rock, then in the strangest twist on the album, the rocker explodes into a psychedelic horn honking fanfare - 70's style - with descending trumpets and funky baseline. A bluesy guitar accompanies the horns, in what could be imagined as the scrolling end credits on a film of Russ Meyer caliber. Pure Cinema.

"Camoufleur" is also pure composition. It is obvious that every minute inclusion has been considered, evaluated, and combined into a record that comes off as highly aware, as keenly inclusive. Conscious not only of current trends, but also of mature composition, arrangement, and sound manipulation to create a larger whole. Unlike the title suggests, "Camoufleur" is anything but deceptive. Instead giving generous information and conceptual zeal to songs fitting neither into rock archetypes or experimental improvisation. With this release Gastr Del Sol continues to execute an art fitting only in a category by itself.

El Loco Burrito

345 Graham Ave.

Brooklyn NY.


This is a new California-style Mexican restaurant that opened up down the street from us here in Brooklyn. It's yummy with really large Burrito's and good chips and salsa. It's very close to the "L" train but they don't have much room for dinning in, so the delivery is probably the best option.

The Rose Center for Earth and Space

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Stm New York City

You've seen the stories on TV, you've seen the plastic replica souvenirs, you may have even seen or received a postcard with a picture on it. The Rose center for Earth and Space is pretty damn cool. It's a bit of spectacular and vaguely groundbreaking architecture mixed with Hollywood mass appeal and legitimate scientific display.

The building takes the form of a giant sphere glassed inside a transparent cube. Pretty universal and "sciency". But housed inside the great sphere are two attractions, "The Big Bang" and "Your Universal Membership" or something like that. See, one's really great and the other looks like it was built out of the scraps of the first. "Your Universal Membership" is the headliner and it features a huge planetarium, super-high-tech video and laser imaging, and the best star simulator ever built. Oh yeah, it has a voiceover by Tom Hanks and apparently is underwritten by American Express because at one point Hanks says, "Šbecause membership has its privileges." But all that aside, it really is dazzling. When the star simulator turns on (after rising through the floor with stage fog) the sold out audience gasped. It's amazing to see all those stars, wellŠ points of light, and I couldn't stop thinking about the people who built that star thingy. How much research and technology went into developing and crafting such an object? Hank's booming voice pointed out various constellations, etc. Then the video projectors took over. What followed was a Hollywood type vision of interstellar travel, with star clusters zipping by like in Star Trek. Planets rumble, galaxies swoon, Hanks remains calm.

But underneath the main attraction lies "The Big Bang". It's like the Baliwood version of "Gone With the Wind". You stand in the above theatre's basement covered with industrial carpet and fleck-stone walls. Jodie Foster announces the text like a robot; cheap green laser lights draw on he floor in front of you, robotic lights move robotically up and down the walls. Then the doors open and a long spiral ramp invite you to look at the universe through the span of suspected universal time. But the problem is we have no idea of what we're looking at. Sure we could actually READ something, but what fun it that? The stops along the ramp are told in scientific notation and are illustrated by pictures taken by the Hubell telescope. But our group really had no idea of what this information was trying to tell us, and for that matter we had no idea what we were doing on this ramp. At the bottom of the ramp we saw what is the equivalent to a dry academic joke. What represents the span of all human history in this impossibly long timeline? A single human hair. Oh, we get it; we're small, tiny even, no - super duper tiny. No, we're really unbelievably, 10 to the billionth power tiny. Really, really, really, really really not large at all.

Also up in the building are the reprinted NASA photographs by Michael Light. These are really fantastic images. In fact, these images are so unbelievable it really makes you wonder, did they make it all up?