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MUSIQUE CONCRET - Bringing up baby
Fractal 026 (CD)


All-Music Guide website - October 2004 (Canada) :

One of the most obscure releases in Steven Stapleton's @ United Dairies catalog, Musique Concret's sole LP Bringing Up Baby came out in 1981. The perpetrators of this Industrial freak-out, Jim Friedman and Michael Mullen, have since vanished and the master tapes have been destroyed, so Fractal's 2004 CD reissue was put together from a mint LP copy, with Stapleton's blessing but without the musicians knowledge. Bringing Up Baby is one of those impossible to describe psychedelic sound orgies, somewhere between the Industrial feel of Nurse With Wound's output at the time and a strong influence from the French underground experimentalists Fille Qui Mousse comes to mind, but also Philippe Besombes. The instrumentation includes synthesizers, guitars, hand percussion and miscellaneous found objects, along with crude electronics, manipulations and tape editing. Side A of the original LP consisted of the four-part suite "Incidents in Rural Places", a stark piece with a Lovecraftian mood coupled with drug-induced eroticism. Its main theme evokes Alain Goraguer's soundtrack for "La Planete Sauvage", but severely mutated through the prism of early '80s experimentalism. It is a surprising piece of work that has aged well and remains cutting-edge to this day. For that unclassifiable suite only, fans of weird psychedelism will consider Bringing Up Baby a collector's must and a fine listen to boot. Side B is overall less impressive. "Organorgan" starts with a heavily distorted electric organ drone, before adding acid guitar licks and electronics. The 14-minute "Wreath Pose at Sacrifice" opens with a toothbrush loop and communal soundmaking, before branching out to include radio transmissions and thick layers of harsh noise. A non-stop noise fest, the piece is raucous and chaotic, yet still somewhat good-humored. But it doesn't have the unique quality of "Incidents in Rural Places" and offers a much tougher listen.
François Couture

The Brainwashed brain (website : ) July 2004 (USA) :

The delayed echoes of pretty guitars with thumps and rhythms washing over the first few tracks make this album sound like a dead ringer for Black Dice. However, Bringing Up Baby is the latest time-forgotten gem of the United Dairies label to be reintroduced to the public. Originally released by Steven Stapleton's label in 1981, the reissue of this CD was not an effortless move. Not only are the original masters unavailable, but the original members are nowhere to be found (hence the note inside urging communication with the musicians). The French label Fractal has done a fantastic job by commissioning a mastering job from an excellent vinyl copy, using scratch reducing technology, and making it sound far better than the recording I made from the record for personal enjoyment. Additionally, Fractal has honorably used all the original artwork from the cover and record itself in this CD issue. The duo of Matt Mullen and Jim Friedman recorded only this one album as Musique Concret and one known track for a Come Organisation compilation and then vanished without a trace. Side one of the original record consists of four parts of "Incidents in Rural Places." Here, soundscapes are created with guitars, delays, low frequency bass, slowed down effects, backwards manipulation, and occasional sounds from old records and lullabies trying to push their way through the surface of twisted effects much like somebody trying to crawl to the surface after being buried alive. Side two opens with the thunderous prog-rockin'-your-foundation "Organorgan," where the musicianship is flaunted by duelling solos on a truly evil sounding fuzzy organ. It closes with the nearly 14 minute track "Wreath Pose at Sacrifice" which could easily be appreciated by any early NWW fan. It's an opus with numerous movements, opening with sounds of pots, pans, twisted metal, and what could be tooth brushing accompanied by very few real instruments making a faint melody, continuing with the ripping, distorded sounds of what could be explosions and wind, giving way to the climax with all the distortions alongside a groovy drum machine loop, and ending with warped old music bleeding through a fuzzy AM radio. This CD happily sits on the shelf next to other UD classics like Masstishaddhu, aching for the day they're joined by equally as honorable reissues of Robert Haigh and Asmus Tietchens.
Jon Whitney  

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