steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Gang Wizard / D. Yellow Swans

Self-titled split 3" CDR

Deathbomb Arc / Collective Jyrk / Tape Mountain

Genres: experimental, experimental pop, performance art

Deathbomb Arc
1067 E. Cypress Ave
Burbank, CA 91501 USA

May 3 - 9 2004

This cute little mini-CDR, courtesy of the Deathbomb Arc, Collective Jyrk, and Tape Mountain labels, comes packaged in a little plastic slip with a wooden tag and a neon green index card.  It is a lo-fi, experimental affair, recorded "live in the men's and women's restrooms" of the Placebo in Arcata, CA.  As can be somewhat expected from a Gang Wizard release, this music, comprised of two compositions (one by each band in either washroom), blends melodic pop sensibility with lo-fi production values and experimental performance art.

Right from the first few minutes, it is clear that this disc is not going to be a readily accessible affair.  This is all about performance - Gang Wizard uses lots of booming, bass-heavy percussion, complex and unusual melody, and scratchy, howly vocals.  For example, a climactic portion of the first piece is made powerful by disturbingly sorrowful, yelled vocals and a violent, fiery explosion of instrumental chaos in the background.  It could be the disc's best moment.  The second piece - courtesy of D. Yellow Swans - is a bit sparser and perhaps even less accessible.  It's not the easiest listen, but as far as DIY avant-garde material goes, it's at the top of the pile.  Overall, this is a very rewarding release that should be enjoyed by daring music lovers, though probably no one else.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 2 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]