Walls Of Genius - "Crazed To The Core" (self-released on CDR in 2001, originally released
1984 on cassette, WOG 0017)
Little Fyodor - "Dance Of The Salted Slug" (The Elephant 6 Recording Co. 1994, EL6-901)
From Aural Innovations #22 (January 2003)
Little Fyodor has escaped my attention until now but has apparently been active on the homemade music scene since the mid-80's, as well as having a radio station in the Denver area for many years dedicated to underground music. He's also been involved in some Church of the Subgenius shows. The two sets reviewed below are a reissue of music from Fyodor's 80's band Walls Of Genius and a later solo CD.
Walls Of Genius consisted of Little Fyodor, Evan Cantor, Ed Fowler and Brad Cartin, and released about 30 cassettes in the 80's. Crazed To The Core is a 2-CDR set that reissues music originally released in 1984. Much of this is pretty raw but there's some excellent rock music, some fairly annoying stuff that sounds like late night drunken antics, and most of it is loads and loads of fun.
Many of the songs are cover tunes which are stylistically all over the map (at least the originals are). And boy, what a treatment they get. The vocals on "Magic Carpet Ride" can get pretty grating - intentionally I'm sure - though this had to be a riot to experience live. One thing that does come through is what a solid Rock band Walls Of Genius were. It's raucous and raw and brimming with heavy rock acidic bliss. Similar treatment is given to "Down On The Corner", "Green River" (Creedence get dinged twice), Love Potion Number 9", "Timothy Leary", and "Theme From A Summer Place". Captain Beefheart is actually treated with respect on "The Dust Blows Forward ‘n The Dust Blows Back". Walls Of Genius completely trash "Barbara Ann". I understand Brian Wilson has been getting out of the house lately so don't let him hear this or he'll have a total psycho relapse. But I think my favorite of the covers has to be the totally hysterical C&W insane asylum version of "Henry The Eighth". There may be more but these were the ones I recognized.
More good humor can be heard on "Abdul, The Bulbul Amir". The narration is a hoot and is interspersed with excellent bits of raw acid rock. "The Butt Song" and "Publishers Soliloquoy" really got me laughing.
But there's some really good music mixed in with all the wackiness. "Amerika Futura" is a simple tune but has some tasty guitar work. "Ape Heaven" is a cool spaced out experimental excursion into noise and sound. And there are two lengthier tracks on which the band stretch out a bit. "Motel 6" consists of 20 minutes of acid-psych lo-fi freakout fun. Like Bevis Frond run through a salad shooter. Shortly after the 10 minute mark it veers off into more experimental territory backed by an incessant noise pattern and various voice samples. "Baseline And Mohawk" starts off as a dreamy oddball blend of melodic progressive rock and chaotic free-improv, but soon transitions to a strange space rock carnival atmosphere. Lots of fun noises and interesting ideas abound throughout both of these extended excursions.
Fast forward to 1994 and we have Little Fyodor recording a solo album. Dance Of The Salted Slug consists of a band that seems like several guest musicians, and the result is an impressively tight ensemble playing wild, fun and creatively structured songs. If forced to make an analogy I'd say I hear elements of Devo and Weird Al, though Little Fyodor is much zanier than those folks and his music is much more interesting, with prog rock and miscellaneous avant-garde influences creeping in from time to time. "Oh God I Feel Like Shit" (ya gotta love that title) features quirky Devo-ish dance electro beats, a dash of funk and some killer whining guitar licks. "You're Gonna Miss Me" and "It Ain't Gonna Happen" include more dance vibes but all within a wild New Wave party-rock context. "Get Out Of My Head" is similar to early XTC when Barry Andrews was still a member. And HEY, that's Deborah Perry from Thinking Plague singing on "It's A Job"!! So I guess the David Willey in the credits is the same David Willey from Thinking Plague. "Too Many People" is an excellent rock song with Fyodor's freaky vocals. "The Blackness" consists of - as the title suggests - a dark mood, but the guitar is the star, making for some very cool instrumentation. And "I Am Insane" is a weird electro tune that I enjoyed.
In summary, I read a load of info about Little Fyodor on his web site and he sounds like he'd be a blast to see live. Aural Innovations readers will want to start with the Walls Of Genius discs, but Dance Of The Salted Slug, though very different, has lots of excellent and well thought out rock songs. Both, however, are full to the brim with humor and fun.
For more information you can visit the Little Fyodor web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Little Fyodor; 3277 Raleigh St; Denver, CO 80212-1707.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz