F/i - "Why Not Now?...Alan!" (Lexicon Devil 2002, lexdev-004
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: June 2004
Their first full-length record, first released in '87 on RRR, F/i this time was Brian Wensing, Richard Franecki, Steve Zimmerman, Greg Kurczewski, Jan Schober and Tom Schnier. The title "Number #27" suggests that variations on these themes have been in process for some time, and the many recordings that have become available support that, though I detect some weary irony in the title as well. Dave Lang's liner notes describe the mood here as "lumbering sloth"...why should I try to put it any differently? Hell, you wouldn't even need these reviews, if you were to seek out his on-line writings - this is an "official" review, and is expected to be less biased or more critical, but I'm mainly in the same head-space as Dave here...though their rock material is far more powerful than their beginnings in the pure subversion of the noise scene. "QR" is right back to that era in spirit - purely harsh electronically-processed aural experimentation. "Nothing More Than a Hoax" is the perfect marriage of the two basic eras. The entire 10-minute track is perfectly fluid, yet cuts back and forth twixt samples/instinctive avant-bashing and the ol' lumbering British-Tribal sloth-rock, accompanied by radio samples based on broadcasts regarding the AIDS epidemic. There's an effect that brilliantly (or perhaps coincidentally) simulates a car-horn, foreshadowing a later track. This is one of the pieces that has appeared previously on CD, RRR's "Out of Space, Out of Time" F/i compilation, as has "Electric Waltz", which is a noisy but pleasantly spacey...waltz...with fuzz-guitar soloing and elusive stratospheric keys adhering to the basic 1-2-2 beat. "Zombie Theme 2" is a powerful, somewhat meandering, snare-tom-keyboard bit that wavers just at the edge of time, never quite falling off that old cliff. "Zombie Theme 3" is as obnoxiously experimental as anything from phase one, even less coherent, a drunken post-industrial behemoth faltering through an abandoned junkheap, leaning on car-horns...actually recorded in a parking lot. This is not actually music to anyone's ears, I suppose, except those of the drivers (musicians) heard giggling during the fade-out. Next is an alternate take on "Observation (The Eye at the Top of the Pyramid)". The version on the Out of Space CD holds my allegiance, perhaps due more to familiarity, but this one no doubt gets fairly up there. Again, credit to Dave Lang for saving the official reviewer some effort, for "beauty churn" can't be bettered. F/i in eight minutes build mechanically but masterfully from sloth to ecstatic speed, guitars and synth laugh lovingly, struggling to keep up. (OK, I had to try...). We conclude with another take on "Threshold", another 8-minutes of beatific space circles.
For more information you can visit the F/i web site at: http://www.sixthstation.com/fi.
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Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg