Charles Rice Goff III/Eric Matchett/Jonathan Sielaff - "Puddle Town"
(Taped Rug Productions 2003)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: December 2003
The latest from Taped Rug Productions, that purveyor of strange and wondrous sounds, is a free-improv/avant-progressive collaboration between former Turkey Makes Me Sleepy cohorts Charles Rice Goff III and Eric Matchett, and Jonathan Sielaff, who I'd not heard of before this recording.
The CD opens with "Sundial", which begins with freeform percussion and a generally thunderous atmosphere. Soon the clattering percussion takes over along with fun freaky Residents-like voicings, both real and efx'd. We then move into an avant-garde chamber ensemble/horror film/New Years Eve party glom, that soon transitions to an electronic experimental finale. Wow... and this is just the opener!
"Blowing & Fingering" features a cool mixture of free-improv stylings, alien space, and electronic fun that does a fine job of bringing contrasting parts into harmony and creating an interesting journey-into-sound whole. I like how the bass clarinet plays a sparse but effective melody, accompanied by equally diffuse guitar and electronic noise textures. But about halfway through this 9 minute track, all the parts come together into a cohesive and linear avant-progressive rock construction which struck me as kind of a lo-fi version of Univers Zero. "Lariat" starts off similar to "Blowing & Fingering", and journeys along in this fashion for several minutes until the keyboards kick in to provide a foreboding orchestral backdrop, and the guitar and clarinet duet to create a dark musical narrative that again falls into the avant-prog realm, but also would work well as the accompaniment to a theater production. There's a strong thematic feel which builds and shift as the piece develops, and even rocks out a bit.
On "Poison Plectrum" the trio take off into free-jazz freakout territory, and the killer bashing guitar adds a gorgeous mindfucked rockin element to the mix. But as is case all over this album nothing stays the same for long. There's an excellent Sun Ra styled bit with flute and tribal percussion, which is given an ultra sonic kick in the ass by the aggressive guitar. Lots happening here folks, and the lads once again succeed in traveling about in full freeform mode, all the while keeping their transitions fluid and mucho satisfying.
"Zicam Phunk" is one of my favorite tracks, beginning as a spacey psychedelic avant-garde shoegaze excursion. Lots of cool pulsating atmospherics, a weird Spaghetti Western sort of guitar melody near the beginning, and a generally cosmic vibe. It's dark and intense, but exudes power. To my ears I hear bits of such diverse influences as Univers Zero and Neu!, if you can imagine those worlds colliding. And boy what a pinball machine of worlds colliding it is, because the boys soon shift to a funky Shaft meets the Residents groove that keeps the continually evolving theatrical feel going, but also gets into more avant-rockin explosions. The set closes with the relatively short "Slap-Up Seven", another avant-proggy tune with lots of electronics thrown into the fray.
After having given Puddle Town an initial listen I told C.Goff III that I thought this was one of the coolest discs I'd heard from him in a while. And now that I've given it the close headphones review listen I have to say..... that this is one of the coolest discs I've heard from him in a while. Fans of both avant-garde free-improvisation and avant-progressive rock will find much to enjoy here. And psychedelic freakout hounds with VEEEERY open minds will find plenty of razor blade balm for their brains. Recommended.
For more information you can visit the Taped Rug Productions web site at: http://www.geocities.com/padukem.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz