Blue Sausage Infant - "Negative Space"
(Zero Moon/Intangible Arts 2011, ZERO13, LP)
From Aural Innovations #43 (October 2011)
Blue Sauage Infant (BSI) is Washington, DC based Chester Hawkins who has been recording and performing as BSI since 1986. From one album and performance to the next BSI can be Chester solo or with guests. On his latest album (180g vinyl edition of 500), titled Negative Space, BSI consists of Chester on all manner of electronics, effects, guitar, bass and miscellaneous devices, plus Michael Shanahan on drums, Jeff Barsky on guitar, and Jason Mullinax on percussion and electronics.
All of side 1 is taken up by the 21 minute Motion Parallax. It's opens with whimsical sci-fi electronics and an eerie voice that I can't understand. A dark but playful melody is introduced, which kind of reminds me of the Residents, while the spaced out effects continue to dance, swirl and soar, sometimes sounding like a comet screaming by at close range. Settling into the main theme, BSI have created a cool combination of slow, pleasant melody, soundscape atmospherics and deep space effects. I also like the Frippertronic-like guitar, which eventually gives way to a clattering robotic percussion groove that smacks away against oddball sounds and space effects.
Side 2 begins with the nearly 15 minute Negative Space. Right out of the chute we've got a classic Neu!-ish motorik groove going, along with spaced out electronics and atmospherics plus whining and howling guitar licks. Oh yeah, we're Kraut-Rockin' on this one, eventually settling into a full blown Space Rock jam that rocks out against dance friendly rhythms. The guitar is blazing, the rhythm section is pounding, and the effects are in full alien invasion mode. Absolutely fantastic! Wow, that's a tough act to follow so the final track, the 6+ minute Subferal, has its work cut out for it. Actually it's a powerful finale, being an aggressive single-purposed noise-symphonic-space invasion that pretty much screams CHAAAAAARGE!!! and off it goes, storming the senses and taking no prisoners.
Negative Space was my introduction to Blue Sausage Infant and left me eager to check out more of Chester's work. His web site store has items to purchase, but also offers a fair amount of free downloads, all of which I snagged. Listening to these it's clear that there's been quite a variety over the years, ranging from the the kind of music I've described, to more experimental works, all of which I found at least interesting and often pretty damn cool. Check it out.
For more information you can visit the Blue Sausage Infant web site at: http://www.bluesausageinfant.com
Visit the Zero Moon web site at http://www.zeromoon.com
Reviewed by Spaceman33