Don Campau - "Guaranteed Injection Comfort Or Your Money Back"
(Harsh Reality 2000, HRC005)
From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)
This collection of mostly instrumental tunes features long time underground figure Don Campau cranking out all manner of music from stinging guitar driven psych rockers to experimental electronic sound collage pieces. Of the 20 tracks included my favorites tended to be the raw jamming guitar tunes that are typically played against intense electronic backdrops. Some have a pop feel as well while others are downright danceable. Other tracks feature electronic sound patterns that are simultaneously abstract and accessible and work quite well in the few minutes most of the tracks occupy. Regardless of the style being explored the music doesn't stand still for a moment and the disc as a whole is a bit of a roller coaster ride that passes by swiftly.
"Corner Market Stickup" and "Driving On The San Andreas Fault" are examples of Campau's cool guitar tunes. The former features harsh, rockin' music with raw but stinging guitar licks against an industrial electronic backdrop. The guitar has a nice atonal quality which throws the listener off a bit, but it got a great affect. "Driving On The San Andreas Fault" is similar, but the patterns are mechanical and repetitive in a "We Are Devo" way. Slightly dancey, and still rocks out. "Mind/Body Split" has an equally raw guitar sound, but in a psychedelic setting. Campau's guitar is clearly tripping its brains out, blasting out licks while steady Eastern psych percussion flows along. As the 11-minute track progresses we hear all manner of freaky sounds, acidic guitars, both electric and acoustic, fiery organ runs, and space synths. There no sense of beginning, middle, or end... it just keeps moving from one chaotic looped and cutup experimental jam to the next. For pure freakiness this sucker pops the mercury.
Highlights on the danceable but still experimental side include "Lowest Common Denominator", a nice little poppy dittie. Cool dirty guitars play a catchy melody over a dancey electronic percussion beat. "The Thrill Seekers Motto" has more of those raw dirty guitars plus electronica and is danceable in crazed and bloodied way. "Plastic Eyeball" veers in drum 'n Bass electronica realms, a direction taken into full rave territory on a cover of the Beatles old love song "And I Love Her". This is a wild tune with heavy thumping rave beats and guest Robin O'Brien singing in an avant folk style, if that makes any sense. Pretty freaky. My favorite of these type of tracks is "Insulin Reaction", a song that is tribal, ethnic, acidic, jazzy, hip-hoppy dancey... you name it. I could go on but suffice it to say that the remaining tracks dabble further into the areas I've described. A good fun set of truly alternative pop mind-mashers.
You can visit Don Campau at his web site, which includes links to his radio show playlists and other related sites.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz