Vas Deferens Organization - "Ninth Ward Fourth World"
(Free Dope And Fucking In The Streets 2010, FDAFITS 33.3-1, LP)
From Aural Innovations #42 (May 2011)
Vas Deferens Organization (VDO) were on a roll in the early Aural Innovations years, with regular releases from the band and their various side projects, and 13 years after the birth of this publication I can say that these mad geniuses are among the best discoveries I've made since starting Aural Innovations.
The band was formed by Matt Castille and a collective of other musicians around 1994. They released some cassette albums but it wasn't until 1995 when Eric Lumbleau entered the picture that Matt had met the appropriate fellow music traveler and things really solidified. Ever since this duo have been the focal point of VDO, though numerous other musicians have come and gone over the years. I discovered the band when Aural Innovations was a printed zine, and I should mention that Matt did the cover art for Aural Innovations issue #4. Anyway, what attracted me to VDO's music was these guys have clearly immersed themselves in every imaginable form of music, and they synthesize all these various musical styles in a way that I haven't really heard anyone else do. In lieu of detailed analysis I'll refer you to the Aural Innovations alpha index for past reviews and articles (search Vas Deferens Organization, Sound, and Muz). But if forced to provide a quick summary I'd say… imagine if The Residents listened to 100 of the best Psychedelic, Krautrock, Prog, Experimental, and 80s Hometaper albums, and then started making music based on their digestion and regurgitation of all those albums, and you might get something like VDO.
Ninth Ward Fourth World is the first album under the VDO banner in nine years and it's great to hear these guys back in action. For this outing the band is the trio of Matt, Eric, and Christopher Moock, the same trio responsible for the Suspension LP from 2001. The album opens with Pearly Gates And Electric Fences, which begins with lullaby strings, quickly joined by a lounge jazz groove. But the trio waste no time oozing in additional layers of freaky sounds and cool jazz/hip-hop mashup beats, intense chamber music strings, and alien bleeps and blurps, while periodically returning to the opening lullaby theme. Orca takes us into an alien jungle with tribal percussion, swami horns, and elephant calls. It sounds like the soundtrack to an old Tarzan flick with lysergic chamber music elements and all manner of mind-fucked sounds coming from every direction. Ninth Ward Fourth World starts with a surreal army of clocks ticking, conjuring up Dali images of them melting off the edge of tables. It then morphs into a sound-art collage of voices and a mish-mash of other samples, and eventually a bit that reminded me of the early Residents but with a twisted jazzy groove. The Plank In Connie's Casserole is the most purely musical track on the album, though its all layered together in trademark VDO style. Finally, E.V.P. consists of spaced out experimental electronics, drones and a dizzying parade of crazy sound samples.
I'd forgotten how much fun it is writing about VDO albums, typing thoughts while I'm listening and laughing at how absurd it must all sound to someone who's never heard the band. Matt and Eric are whiz kids in the recording studio and it's important to understand that VDO music is in large part a product of artistry and skill with the technology of recording. If the capsule description of the band I gave at the beginning of this review resonated with you in any way, you'll want to check these guys out.
SO… now that I blathered on about VDO and this album I'll bring a huge "WHAT THE FUCK!!!" upon myself by revealing that the album was printed in an edition of 100 and is already sold out. I'll further annoy vinyl junkies by telling you that the LP was pressed on solid 180 gram vinyl and that both sides of the jacket feature gorgeously twisted artwork on hard plastic laminated panels.
BUT… my intent is not to frustrate you dear readers. Rather, it is our mission here at Aural Innovations to document the existence of these artifacts. And in the case of VDO I can tell you that they've got a lot in the works for the coming year. Much of it I can't reveal yet but among the official news is a remastered reissue of the 1996 Transcontinental Conspiracy CD with Brad Laner, including a bonus track. This will be put out by a new Polish label called Niklas, who are also planning a micro-press cassette of unreleased Muz material. Also look forward to the next VDO album, Eye Peels And Brain Picks, to be issued on the band's own label, again as a 100 copy LP pressing.. Finally, we have a 7" single to look forward to of two tracks of VDO in collaboration with Quintron. The Aural Innovations News page and Space Rock Radio show will shoot off the fireworks as these goodies become available.
Visit the Vas Deferens Organization web site at http://vasdeferensorganization.com
Visit the Free Dope and Fucking in the Streets label web site at http://www.freedopeandfuckinginthestreets.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz