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Datapanik in Year Zero (the Boxed Set) Box-Set
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5-CD-Box Einer Romanfigur des französischen Surrealisten Alfred Jarry entliehen Pere Ubu ihren Namen - zurecht: Die Exzesse des Aventgarde-Kollektivs um Sänger David Thomas, '75 in Celveland/Ohio gegründet, sind allenfalls mit Captain Beefheart und Frank Zappa vergleichbar. Mal knödelt Thomas wie ein durchgeknallter Kastrat, mal brummt er düster wie ein Hades-Wächter zu Art-Rock mit Punk-Attitüde plus elektronisch garnierten Dada-Sounds. Die fünf CDs, prallvoll mit Regulärem und Rarem bis '82, bieten ein echtes Extrem-Abenteuer.
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Die Viererbox hat nur eine etwas größere Form als eine CD Hülle und beinhaltet nur 4 CDs. Das wirklich spannende sind neben den Original "Datapanik in the Year Zero" Tracks und den ersten 5 Originalalben, die "alternate Version" eins dieser klassischen Alben.
"The Art Of Walking" Album Nummer 4 ist in der Box als, die ursprünglich beabsichtigte Version enthalten: " Arabia" hat dann keine Vocals. " "Young Miles In the Basement" ist länger und etwas rauher und "Misery Goats" gibt einer "Jew`s Harp Version"- also schon einige deutliche Unterscheide. Allein deswegen lonht sich schon die Anschaffung des "schmucken Teils". Das Booklet ist umfangreich und informativ (ob es in der 4 Box enthalten ist, kann ich nicht sagen, da ich meine sealed wieder verkauft habe) und läßt keine Wünsche offen.
Die Box ist eine remasterte Fassung der gleichnamigen Ausgabe von ca 1996. Allerdings soll die frühere Ausgabe noch zusätzlich über eine Live-CD verfügt haben. Hier jedenfalls in der 2009er-Ausgabe gibt es eine solche nicht.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
"Final Solution". Dies wurde auf einer Rough Trade Single aus diesen frühen Jahren 1978 veröffentlicht. Heutzutage sind die Tracks auch auf CDs zugänglich, aber bei "Pere Ubu" sind diese Collectors editions, wie die 4 bzw, 5 fach CD Box gleichen Namens, und geringen Auflagen meist schnell vergriffen, so das gerade wieder auf "Fire Records" eine CD mit allen frühen Single Tracks erschienen ist.
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I had always heard the name "Pere Ubu" mentioned by many modern musical artists (and many of my personal favorites) as being a big influence, but I never actually heard any of their songs until I got satellite radio a few years ago. I was immediately intrigued by songs like "Final Solution", "Nonalignment Pact", and "Ubu Dance Party", and then I found this box set available that contained all of their early work, so I figured, what the heck? At first, I was overwhelmed by radically diverse song structures and bizarre sounds, not to mention Dave Thomas' crazed (to quote Steven Grant of the Trouser Press) "plebian warble", and I worried that I had made a big mistake. However, after a few listens, things started to gel a bit and I was able to finally get my head around the sheer brilliance and inventiveness of this groundbreaking work. Now, here's my breakdown of the 5 discs in this box set:
Disc A contains the original Datapanik EP and The Modern Dance LP. This is easily the most accessible of their work and is definitely the place you should start if you have no familiarity with this band. The song structures are pretty straight-forward in the garage-punk sense, but there is still plenty of the idiosyncrasies (both vocal and instrumental) that would virtually take over in their later work. Everything here is uniformly great, except for maybe "Sentimental Journey" and "The Book is on the Table", which aren't actual songs as much as just experiments in sound and mood (all their albums have these "soundscape" pieces - they're not really filler, but they're not music in the traditional sense either).
Disc B contains the Dub Housing and New Picnic Time LP's, and this has become my favorite of the 5 discs over time. The key here is "OVER TIME", as the music on this disc was, at first, incomprehensibly bizarre to me, and it appeared to be the nonsensical ravings of lunatics trapped in an insane asylum with musical instruments and recording equipment. I gave it a chance, though, and ended up being greatly rewarded for my perseverance. Once you "get it", the amalgamation of blues, jazz, rock, pop, and downright performance art fleshed out with reckless abandon is just amazing. The humor and the horror, along with a myriad of other emotional nuances, always leaves something new to be discovered each time I listen. Once again, everything is great, with "Thriller!" and "A Small Dark Cloud" serving as the quasi-ambient soundscape interludes. My favorite song is probably "Small Was Fast" - that one just kills me. The first two discs of this set have actually become two of my favorite CDs of ALL TIME!
For me, things wane a little bit on disc C, which includes the material from Art of Walking and Song of the Bailing Man. I like about half the songs here, with most of those coming from Art of Walking. The music from Song of the Bailing Man seems a little staid and forced when compared to their earlier stuff. This is probably my least favorite disc of the 5, but some of you may find this almost as accessible as the material on disc A, especially if you end up getting more into Pere Ubu's smoother, jazzier side.
Disc D contains selections from two live recordings, one in 1978 and the other in 1981. The sound is bootleg quality, and this is not meant to be a "best of" live recordings (as Dave Thomas explains in the vocal liner notes: "that's life, that's art"), but the performances are actually quite good and offer sometimes radically different takes on the studio versions of the songs.
Disc E is quite interesting as it is made up entirely of side projects and other Cleveland bands belonging to the Pere Ubu extended family. I didn't have any expectations for this one, but I actually ended up liking about two thirds of the songs here. I'm especially fond of the raw, garage-rock of the songs by Friction, Tripod Jimmie, Rocket from the Tombs, and the Mirrors. You can really hear how this lot were influenced by earlier pioneers such as the Velvet Underground and Television.
So, in conclusion, for those of you who are interested in exploring the roots of where a lot of today's better music comes from, or if you just want a unique musical experience, you should consider this Pere Ubu box set. Be warned, though, this is some pretty challenging stuff, and you'll have to uphold your end of the bargain by doing some work yourself - this is not ear candy that's going to reveal itself for what it is on the first (or even second) listen. However, if you give it a chance, I think you'll be deeply rewarded. Why not 5 stars? Well, I think it's almost impossible for these large box sets to ever warrant 5 stars because there's always going to be stuff that you don't like or just aren't into, but I don't think that's their purpose anyway. To me, these types of compilations are meant to be like smorgasbords, where you pick out what you like from a vast selection of delicacies, some of which you can't find anywhere else. Have I made you hungry? Well, then, dig in!
Disc 1 has the original "Datapanic" EP, consisting of tunes originally released on singles circa 1976 and 1977. These songs, such as the scarifying "Heart of Darkness" and "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" are dark but within their moody framework extremely well-constructed. The band starts to open it out a little on tracks like "Heaven" (sounds like the Rolling Stones circa 1976) and "Cloud 149" (sounds like some of the most brilliant utilization of rock riffs and instrumentation that I have ever heard). We are then treated to Ubu's debut LP (from 1978) "The Modern Dance" which has always been my favorite of theirs. This is the true sound of the American underground, sitting fermented in a pile of Velvets and Stooges records for years and now ready to burst out and make the world take notice. Each element of the band (Tom Herman's inside-out and always tasteful guitar, Scott Krauss's perfectly on-the-mark, fluid and creative drumming, Tony Maimone's probing bass, Alan Ravenstine's Eno-esque [circa Roxy Music] keyboard dissonance, and David Thomas' Tiny Tim-like vocal journeys) congeals into a powerful whole. The LP contains 10 songs and suffice it to say that they are all different and all worthwhile. It is a brilliant album which did deserve, and still does deserve, to be heard.
Disc 2 has the "Dub Housing" LP from 1978 and the "New Picnic Time" LP from 1979. Each of these is a classic in its own right and pursues furtherance of the band's adventurous and rhythmically dense style. "Dub Housing" is full of great instrumental interplay and fascinating stylistic maneuvers; "New Picnic Time" gets a bit dark and meandering but contains an EP's worth of stuff that probably ranks as some of the strongest and most delicious music ever to be filed under the "rock" genre.
Disc 3 is not Ubu at their best - it has most of the tracks from the two albums recorded after Mayo Thompson replaced Tom Herman on guitar - "The Art of Walking" and "Song of the Bailing Man". These LPs are unusual curiosities, especially "The Art of Walking" which has to rank as one of the strangest products ever released, but you'll probably never be motivated to get up and play them each before breakfast on a daily basis.
Disc 4 is "390 Degrees of Simulated Stereo Volume 2", actually the third live Ubu release. Like Volume 1 (still out-of-print) this collection is highlighted by material recorded live by the 1978 band. In addition to songs which were on Volume 1, there's an interesting run through "Sentimental Journey" (a dark piece which manages to be both droning and anarchic). The disc also contains some material recorded during the Mayo Thompson days.
Disc 5 is an unusual collection of tracks by Ubu-related projects or bands, or Cleveland bands that had an effect on Ubu. It's an unusual concept, but contributes effectively to showing us the "Cleveland Scene" that spawned Ubu. My favorites include Rocket From The Tombs' version of "30 Seconds Over Tokyo", Tom Herman (with Scott Krauss) doing a track called "Steve Canyon Blues", and Peter Laughner (who played with the band on their early singles) leading his band "Friction" through "Dear Richard". The Mirrors' "She Smiled Wild" is quite interesting too, as is 15-60-75's "It's In Imagination". "Syd's Dance Party" (which included Krauss and Maimone) contribute a very nice track also.
Okay. What's the bottom line on all this? Well, it's indispensably great. A great conflagration of energies. At its moderate price, you should buy it if you're interested in Ubu.