G.T. Arpe - "Drum and Drum"
(Tape and CD Records 2001, 004)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Now here are some tastefully warped pop songs. The music is completely raw and lo-fi, and Arpe vocals get a bit tiresome, but he's also done a good job of getting mileage out of limited instrumentation and recording resources to create a set of tunes that explore the pop possibilities of noise, clatter, and chaos. Across the CD's ten tracks I hear some seriously crazed yet well done mixing and collage-like layering of various bits of synths, toy instruments, guitars, horns, and garbage can percussion.
Among the standout tracks is "Me Brain Broke", one of the more musically impressive tunes, being a percussion and noise symphony of sorts. "The Reds" and "Grey" are the two acid-noise freakout tunes on the disc. I dig the swirling synths and organs and various samples particularly on "Grey". "Picasso Was No Asshole" is kind of a tripped out folk-rock song back by crazed percussion. On the surface of "Greens Blues / 2382?" we hear an attempt at a conventional song, but the musical zaniness behind it puts the whole thing into lo-fi orbit. Arpe's vocals can be a little hard to take, but his lyrics can be pretty humorous at times, particularly on "I Am A Skunk" where he's going on a about being a skunk and cutting out the rice and beans and his gastroenterologist, etc. He's singing about all this against a background of tribal crashing and banging, violins, and kazoos. Pretty wild.
In summary, this is pretty raw stuff, but it's also a fun set of tunes. And I'll give Arpe a thumbs up for his creatively warped conception of pop songs. Lots here for lo-fi fans to enjoy.
For more information you can email G.T. Arpe at email@example.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Tape and CD Records; PO Box 14; Boston, MA 02101-0014.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz