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Bren't Lewiis Ensemble - "Borderline Dogfood" CD
- Sound Clips
The BLE's first full-length 2023 is a table scrap pâté of junk percussion, recycled sounds, roasted tapes and electronics, surrealist soliloquies, and decontextualized lyrics squished through the meat grinder and smeared into a professionally replicated compact disc (not a CDR).
After-hours sessions at Musiclandria in Sacramento in late 2021 — at the time freshly upgraded to a mammoth instrument lending library with a stream-ready live venue, a recording studio, and a community center — form the sponge-y foundation of Borderline Dogfood. Joining the irregulars were The Viper (a violinist who was a defiler of catgut par excellence back in the early 1980s iteration of Bren't Lewiis, now resembling, as an added bonus, an Edward Gorey character come to life) and The Affable Chap (a recruit from the UK home office who hurled himself into the variety of gear and gizmos available at Musiclandria, especially items in the genus keyboards). With access to everything on the premises, from the synthesizers to the guitars, from the billiards table to the guts of a piano leaning against a wall, the Ensemble floods your delta with electronic doink, insectoid crackling, and brackish murmurs. They avoid becoming what John Whitson of Holy Mountain would describe as "a chance-oriented jam band" by framing everything between (and interrupting everything with) loops and fragments from field recordings and internet fails videos where behavior is modified by life crisis hormones and one deadly sin or another. If you wanted to call it "Olmec improv filtered through contemporary snartwave," it's unlikely anyone'd try to shove you down a flight of stairs.
Mixed throughout are passages going as far back as 2017 from Lucian Tielens and the City Councilman's weekly sessions at Fluxus Enigma in Fair Oaks, where anything can happen — grunt'n'moan montages, Theremin vs Stylophone battles, journeys into the dark, evil soul of toys, contact mic endurance challenges, backing vocals by beautiful ol' hounddogs with heads shaped like lightbulbs, objects rustling in a laundry basket...
Shalimar Fox makes a rare appearance with a monologue about exerting the power of eminent domain on Pucci's din-din. Meanwhile, a helium-dosed Lala Lu delivers her remarkable take on a bit o' swill from the Disney canon, Tielens loses himself in the black forest that is the lyrics to "The Porpoise Song," Gnarlos uses Pete Beck's lyrics to the Dilwhip / Educated Mess / 28th Day track "Do You Know How It Feels" to conquer the baby monitor while standing in the parking lot, and then the slobber-drenched chewtoy is back in Lala Lu's yap (metaphorically) for a Venus de Sunnyvale style reading of Misfits lyrics.
The 17-minute "Emperor Guillotine Nukes A Lush Valley Using His Fingernail," anchored by sessions at Hazel's 'Lectric Washouse in Oakland, is especially grand, with Jimmy The Baptist's worship of degraded guitar wheedle taking center stage, while psychological textician Tom Chimpson recites self-penned pre-hypnotic suggestions on "Executive Lullabyes Courtesy of Binky The Wonder Squid LLC." Another standout is the complete soundtrack to the City-Councilman-edited 13-minute film "Lackey Demand Indicator," which premiered at Wonder Valley Experimental Festival #14 in 29 Palms, California, in April 2022.
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