Unus Mundus was formed in Athens, Georgia in 2001 as a solo vehicle for musician Steve Fitzpatrick. He released several of what were essentially solo albums before turning the project into a band. His latest effort – Type V Civilization – was recorded by a quartet, though Steve reports that Unus Mundus is once again largely just him. (CLICK HERE if you want to know what a Type V Civilization is.)
Unus Mundus music is characterized by the kind of experimental, punk and industrial fueled Space Rock that drove bands like F/i and ST 37. Fitzpatrick’s influences range from Hawkind, Pink Floyd and Amon Düül II on the one hand, to Throbbing Gristle, The Cramps, Captain Beefheart and beyond. And it shows throughout this album, though Space Rock and Psychedelia are ultimately the core of what Type V Civilization is about.
The album opens with Intergalactic Consumer Zombies, a good time Psychedelic Rock ‘n Roll tune with a dirty garage edge. Make Hollywood is a drugged, droning Psychedelic jam that’s like a cross between the instrumental portion of The Doors’ The End and early Amon Düül II played at half speed. I like how it trips along at an off-kilter pace, freeform jamming and throwing oddball effects in the listener’s path as it conjures up images of some late 60s freakout night at Berlin’s Zodiak club. The tripped out jamming continues on Ozymandias, a darkly intense spaced out dirge with squonky wailing saxophone, a Teutonic rhythm section, eerie keys, and dissonant guitars that make the whole thing Psychedelically noisy, with a punky air of violence about it. This one reminds me of ST 37. I like the free-wheeling Psychedelic-Blues peppered with alien electronics on The $2.00 Wine Superdeluxe. The Strange Case of Nehemiah Wade is a strange piece, with a mind-fucked jam that lays the foundation for a parade of samples and a non-stop obscenity laced rant by a decidedly pissed off black male. Try to ignore the tirade and you’ll hear a killer instrumental that’s totally dirty and noisy but does a real number on the brain. File under Experimental Industrial Space Rock. Finally we’ve got Mute Witness / Stuporjam, a cool jam that takes the best of 1980s F/i styled noisy, experimental Psychedelic Space Rock and makes it a 17 minute brain frying endurance test.
If you like your Space Rock lo-fi, noisy, freeform jamming, and with a punky experimental attitude, then you’ll dig Unus Mundus.
To stream and download Type V Civilization visit the Unus Mundus Bandcamp site at: http://unus-mundus.bandcamp.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz