Friday, March 21, 2008
In college I played briefly in a sort of out-prog-no-wave-gag band called Citrus Leviticus. In retrospect, the name may have been better than the music. A few of us had taken jazz classes at the university. There were intentional whole-tone-scale solos, stuttering 7-beat rhythms, there may have been some attempt to base a composition on the Fibonacci Sequence, and I remember one song had the chorus “I’ve got too much meat on my toes,” which was sort of a garbled in-joke about a diagnosis that one of us had received from a local macrobiotic specialist (hairy toes, as I recall, had something to do with a one’s mother having had eaten too much red meat during pregnancy, according to the macro quack.)
I was reminded of the summer of Citrus Leviticus when listening to this re-issue of this 1973 from San Bernadino’s Instant Orange, mostly because of the name. It’s curious music. Sounds like you’re hearing everything through a peanut can. It’s a treble-heavy nightmare, with drums too loud in the mix. Surprising blasts of musique concrete and nonsense. Banjo jamboree breakdowns. Burps. Radio noise. Then weird tinny psych-pop, Byrdsy in places, presaging REM. Stoner avant garde. Langley School Project for grown-ups with substance abuse problems. Shadoks Music are masters of finding this stuff, and Spoils of War and Headstone Circus both come to mind listening to this one.
As with Lefty’s post on genetically engineered musical simulacra, listening to Instant Orange makes me feel like we’ve nearly reached the end of some voracious history-sweeping mad rush to delve into every possible cranny of previously undiscovered recorded music from the past. To probe. I like this music, but it makes me think of those English Literature graduate students who wrote their dissertations on obscure female novelists from the early 18th century, not because the novels were good, but simply because a million other scholars hadn’t written about them already.
“The Visionary” - Instant Orange
“Whole Lot Better” - Instant Orange