Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sun City Girls - Dante's Disneyland Inferno & 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda

Skimming through here, improbability of all improbabilities, I somehow avoided showcasing my love for everyone's favorite triangle of unclassifiable wankmaestros, the Sun City Girls. Dabbling and Wonka brand "Fun Dipping" in everything from improv, free-jazz, ethno-eastern traditionals, lounge sleaze jazz, folk Americana, and whatever else paints a target on itself, the 'Girls has one of the most fantastic and expansive catalogs out there - close to 20 full length LPs, an even greater slew of cassettes, an oodle-point-five of live albums (most of which fly under the Carnival Folklore Resurrection series), a wickerbasket of "7 inches, and a hammock of singles collections (one of which, Box Of Chameleons, clocks in at 3 stuffed CDs and is littered with prank calls the 'Girls made in the 70's (?)).
Anyhoover vacuum, today we're covered 1996's excursion into the uber-epic with the two double-CD full lengths, Dante's Disneyland Inferno and 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda. Unfortunately, like most of Sun City Girls' catalog, they were quick to vanish from the label rosters and the remaining copies made their collective way into the fat-pocketed collector dips. Then, come 2001, Locust Records kindly reissued the duo on monstrous triple LP formats - repressings of the most tasty and extravagant kind. Unfortunately (again), within a year or so, they disappeared back into the ether without a squeak since (like anyone would expect from a small label issuing such a costly, limited audience package).

SO: Movement The First -
Both a major departure from their previous work and an expansion of some of their earliest ideas, Dante's Disneyland Inferno is a strongly dialogue/lyric-cornerstoned album with yakking taking precedent over the tunes for once. There are a handful of full fledged songs on here (and GREAT ones at that), but for the most part, what we have is a mesmerizing collage of sickness, absurdity, and religious mockery delivered by mouth and propelled by background instrumentation. Lots of lounge jazz, screwed-up folk meanderings, bongos, ambiance, and whatever else fits. If you ever found Bishop's lyrics clever on past releases, this is a fucking shrine to these sensibilities, and all gold to it, as it's one of the most consistently disturbing and hilarious recordings I can think of. Plus, it's the return of the wizened Uncle Jim, has a comic adaptation of the song "The Brothers Unconnected", and contains the lines "Is that Prince Albert in a can? Or is it just Prince Albert in your mind?". Brilliant stuff here.
THEN: Movement The Second -
330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda. Poignant. Deep. This is the perfect counterpart to the talkative aforementioned, as it's a monstrously epic music focused release with but a small handful of decipherable lyrics to be found. Presumably Dante's... parasitically drained this'un of mouth-jive. This is apparently considered to be the quintessential Sun City Girls album as it sounds more like a retrospect of the band's entire career rather than a singular vision cooked up for one release. Intriguing, no? The first portion of the album is made up of polished actual songs in the vein of the first 4 LPs, while the second half is a loose, beautiful mixture of ragas, free-jazz, and improv, including the hypnotic epics/epic (depending on whether you own the CD or LP version) "Ghost Ghat Trespass" and "Sussmeier"; the former being an incredible raga piece with Eyvind Kang on violin accompanied by the 'Girls drum 'n guitar antics, the latter being a huge, rattling improv that gets better on subsequent listens.
Apparently, according to Richard Bishop, these two releases were supposed to be a spiritual follow-up to the notes and sentiments exhibited on their first handful of releases, which is pretty clear if you've heard the bulk of their work. Sadly, drummer Charles Gnocher died in the past few years, putting their career to an end. It's hard to imagine how much losing your bandmate of 20 years must suck, but Rick Bishop is still performing under his name today and offering up a slew of great albums. Summed up, these are two albums you need: two masterpiece triple albums from one of the best bands out there.

1 comment:

  1. Love both these, but for my money I think their greatest ever is Horse Cock Phepner. This is the Voice of America, Mr. Fuckface Cuntface