Vocabularinist - "The Spinostics Of Chukinski" (Subversive Records 2002, CD)
Vocabularinist - "The Leftovers: 97-'00" (self-released 2002, CDR)
Vocabularinist - "Passenger Side" (Subversive Records 2002, CDR-EP)
Doof On Toast - "Powered By Satan" (self-released 2002, CDEP)
From Aural Innovations #23 (April 2003)
The Spinostics Of Chukinski is the latest full length release from Vocabularinist and is the most psychedelic set of songs I've heard from these guys yet. But purists be wary because this creative combo from down under are multi-stylists and genre smashers that like to glom seemingly unrelated elements together to create completely strange and fantastically fun music.
The CD starts off innocently enough with a few drifting psychedelia songs that have an old time San Francisco sound á la the Airplane and Dead. They're really nice songs but the efx'd second vocalist on "The Sun Is Up" hints at the underlying strangeness that we've come to expect from these guys. The psychedelia slowly gets lovingly corrupted as the Vocabs throw various ingredients into the mix. "Flirting With Time" consists of bubbling, wah'd, and acidic psychedelia with jazzy saxophone and turntable scratching. A wild but killer mix that I wished would have jammed on a bit longer. "Underlay Rubber" is far trippier than most of the songs, with its lilting acoustic guitars and drifting flower power vocals, though there's a slightly hip-hoppy electro beat adding a bit of oddball variety to the music. "Skaters Wear Headbands" is a strange glom of sound samples, New Age flute melody, spacey synth patterns, and techno weirdness. "Who's The Animal" and "Robot Drugz" have some cool cosmic electro strangeness. "Clock Without A Face" gets even weirder and is more like the music heard on the Vorsichtsmassnahmen CD, which had similarities to The Residents and Vas Deferens Organization. "Burial No Lb" is a dark, pounding, cinematic piece with narration and seriously aggressive vocals that recall the early Residents. "Communifusion" is an interesting goth-metal rocker with saxophone that I enjoyed. And there's loads more fun to be had across the albums 18 tracks, though as if to circle back to the themes that opened the CD, it closes with the meditative spacey "Final Entry".
The Leftovers: ‘97-'00 is a CDR collection of 13 tracks from Vocabularinist's earlier cassette releases. The music represents the more experimental side of the band and will appeal to fans of homemade sound collage, electronics, and noise artists. Though extremely lo-fi and far less polished than their "regular" CD releases, these tracks are nonetheless characterized by the trademark Vocabularinist creatively constructed chaos. The more zany side of The Residents is much in evidence, with lots of fun efx'd vocals and layer upon layer of cool and strange sounds. It's clear the band are experimenting and playing with tape, sound and sample manipulation... I can just see the wild eyed looks on their faces as they splice and dice. Several musical styles can be heard if you listen closely, though the Vocabs quite thoroughly and not so cleanly manage to mangle them into mutated images of their more traditional selves. There are some very cool space-noise workouts that are given a carnival-like touch by the Vocabs, and therefore tend to have an element of fun not typically heard in such music. Lots of interesting sounds here though it's definitely not the place to start with Vocabularinist unless you're already a fan and have heard their various side projects. But veteran sound art junkies should dive right in.
The Passenger Side CDR-EP consists of 5 tracks plus a video. The title track features the "myth eaters remix" version of the same song from The Spinostics Of Chukinski CD, plus a killer video of the song that is like a modern computer enhanced version of the old Beat Club videos meets Yellow Submarine. A rolling green highway against a purple paisley sky morphs into city of the future looking buildings and continues to evolve from there. Very cool. "How To Stop Perpetual Motion" is a dark mixture of psychedelia and Grand Guignol piano orchestrations, plus bits of ethnic percussion. These guys rule when it comes to blending styles. "Tree Trunks (non tentative version)" is a dark and moody psychedelic song with UFO space synth embellishments and liquid guitar lines that would fit perfectly on the Chukinski CD. I really dig the spoken word bit at the end backed by high pitched electronics and pulsating oscillators. "Caterpillar (death of everything mix)" features off-kilter pounding dance beats, zany efx'd vocals, and freakout efx that all come together for a seriously mindfucked glom of music and sounds. FUN! And "Sea Sick Spirit (pimpenheimer mix)" is a very nice bit of bubbling and sometimes quirky spaced out psychedelia that soon kicks into higher rock gear. Actually this is a damn good tune and an excellent example of the band's song oriented side.
There are numerous projects that revolve around the Vocabularinist universe. DJ Urinal Cake, Frankie Death & the Photon Belt, Funkmeister G, plus solo releases. Doof On Toast is a side project from Fil and BumScuzz with help from other Vocab members. The album includes some crazed and highly intense space freak rockers that bring to mind Chrome or Pressurehed exploring techno. I really dig the wild mixture of blazing space rock and rapid fire fall on the floor electro dance rhythms. The Doofs also journey more overtly into dance territory. But remember... these are Vocabularinists... and they don't meet any preconceived notions of genre or style. I suppose if I were loaded to the eyelids on ecstasy I might be able to dance all night to this stuff, but my preference is to have the headphones on and head bop along with the music as the Doofs do their comic stomp on my brain. And don't think you're going to relax either because this shit is so frantic and pumped that even while asleep your body would be jumping around like a marionette with a different alien controlling each string. Good fun, totally freaky, and completely spaced.
If you haven't yet explored the Vocabularinist family of freaky fun then I can't recommend them highly enough. They cover a diversity of territory, making music that can border on insanity while showcasing a high level of creativity and attention to detail.
For more information you can visit Vocabularinist at both their Mp3.com web sites at:
http://www.mp3.com/vocab and http://www.mp3.com.au/vokabz.
Email them at: email@example.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Vocabularinist; PO Box 341; Fivedock 2046; N.S.W.; Australia.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz