Extreme Music From Women CD review by Erik Hoffman
This is the most recent in the 'Extreme Music Series' from Susan Lawly. This is by far the most eclectic of the three. Just about every style is represented here. The production quality is top notch, which is to be expected. Bennett got the highest gloss paper he could muster. The photos of the battered woman should draw much debate from the feminist critics of William Bennetts PRESUMED misogynist ideals. To me, many of the wounds look self-induced. Who's to say that she doesn't really like to be beaten on the ass? I do.
First up is a great little track from Rosemary Malign. Very reminiscent of the Whitehouse track, "A Cunt Like You" in that the choppy, distorted and angry vocals are over a bed of equally choppy noise. It also has that trademark feedback squeal in the background at some points. I'd hate to be on the receiving end of that verbal assault.
Lisa and Naomi Tocatly (a.k.a. The Menstruation Sisters) comes at you next with another verbal assault. This very short one is mainly the wonderful sound of a shrieking, hysterical woman. I love the sound of hysterical woman.
To bring you back down and calm your nerves a bit, Dolores Dewberry comes at you with a comparatively soothing and mellow track. Pulsating electronics with unintelligible vocals.
Candi Nook brings the meter levels back up to red with a barrage of samples and sound bits taken from god knows where. I could swear I hear Star Trek sounds in there somewhere. Very aggressive sound on this one.
One of the best tracks on the CD is way too short!!!! "Lycanthropy" by Annabel Lee is an extremely intense minute of gurgling growls. A great start to what could be an amazing 4 or 5 minutes. Give me more Annabel, you tease!!!
Mira Calix brings a fantastic collection of layered loops to the mix. Sort of sounds like Solid Eye (which is a huge compliment).
Clara Clamp puts together a perfect example of answering machine tape collage. Layers of messages with a nice low booming in the background to tie it all together. "Hello. Hello.... It's me....pick up.....pick up. OK...I guess you're not there....give me a call" This degenerates into a very powerful ending. Look at the picture of Clara when you listen to the end of this. Perfect.
I'm not big on the spoken word. I never have been into poetry or readings or story time. This track by Debra Petrovich has not changed my views. 9 minutes of story time starts out great but soon gets stale with the over use of reverb.
Luckily Karen Thomas is there to bring back the chaos. This track has a very spacey feel. It almost an underwater characteristic to it. Nice work.
Betty Cannery can scream like no other. She is really giving someone hell for something. Done in the old-school Whitehouse style, Betty screams over the accompanying feedback squeals. She sounds really pissed. Recorded by Bennett in Chicago.
The gritty rumblings of Gaya Donadio seems to go nowhere. It has that steady pummeling assault on the brain. Not bad but not great.
Maria Moran gives a top notch example of originality and quality recording. Sound bytes about getting fucked in the ass are always good. The sub-sonic thumping beats break up the degenerative grinding perfectly. Great use of panning and stereo separation.
Frl. Tost loses me with the Flanged vocals. Again, not bad but not great. The short track from Wendy Van Dusen is just the right length. Whispering vocals over sweeping electronic sounds. Much more and I probably would have gotten annoyed by it.
Cat Hope presents a well assembled soundscape with breaking glass, looped voices and many indecipherable sounds. A very nice listen. Sounds surprisingly a lot like my very own super group Spastic Colon.
The two short tracks from Diane Nelson are some of the best on the CD. Again, they leave me wanting much more. Moog synthesizer mixed with other electronic sounds. Great stuff.
Overall this CD is rather good. It's not uncomfortably loud. It's not too static. It's not boring by any means. The one thing that surprises me is the consistent use of vocals. Maybe it's akin to the need for women to express their feelings verbally. I think this CD is a fine addition to the Susan Lawly discography. Congratulations go to all the women who participated.
Erik Hoffman - Ground Fault Recordings www.groundfault.net
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