- Review by Andy Uzzell, dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com, April 2020
I have spent the last few days fully immersing myself in the slightly disturbing but always mind-blowing world of the Ceramic Hobs. One of the rabbit holes down which this foray took me is Pumf Records, run by Stan Batcow who, aside from a stint in the aforementioned Hobs (and a major contributor to some of the band's best albums) records under the name Howl
in the Typewriter. As HITT he has released a slew of tapes and CD-Rs that veer from lo-fi punk to unsettling
noise . . . seriously, they are all worth checking out . . . but 'Manifesto' must surely stand as his magnum opus and, although released a couple of years ago, its message rings true and hits home during these days of selfish idiots buying up all the bog roll they can lay their hands on and total c***s like Tim Martin and Mike Ashley proving once more that capitalism strips people of humanity and all decency.
'Manifesto' channels the true spirit of punk; the kicking against the pricks, the calling out of arseholes and the standing up for what's right. It is one single track that runs for 64 minutes. Now, before you all start shouting "64 minutes, that's prog not punk", steer your thoughts towards Crass' 'Yes Sir, I Will' or Subhumans' 'From The Cradle To The Grave' or more recently Aus Rotten's
'. . . and now back to our programming' . . . there is a precedent here! The subject of Batcow's ire in this case is advertising and consumerism and little did he know that some 18 months after release it would take on a whole new dimension; in a time when we are in lockdown, people are being laid off or furloughed, people acting like savages in the supermarkets we are STILL being bombarded with TV adverts for the Kia friggin'
Ceed and expensive holidays and, god help us, online casinos ("been laid off, struggling to survive, come and spunk away your remaining money on roulette").
Musically 'Manifesto' covers an awful lot of ground from lo-fi punk to noise, electronica to reggae all connected with leifmotifs both musical and lyrical. It is a bit like a portmanteau; a series of musical cameos stitched together with the 'chorus' - “We don’t fucking want / what you’re trying to fucking sell / shove it up your fucking arse / then fuck off and go to
hell” all sung or spoken by a cast of thousands. All of this cleverly interwoven with samples of adverts, vox pops and TV to really ram home the message. It is, in short, a magnificent listen that certainly appealed to me as an old punk (there are definite shades of Crass and
Chumbawamba throughout) but more importantly it lays bare the sociological evil inherent in advertising which, at this time, is totally undermining our collective efforts to survive this current shitstorm. It is an angry, creative and eminently enjoyable hour long
tirade . . . strongly recommended!
[ . . . head over to the Pumf Records website and . . . check out the other releases - it is a veritable treasure trove of the weird and
- Review by Lawrence Burton, thefatoldman.blogspot, January 2019
My impartiality is probably open to question where this one is concerned. Never mind that I know the bloke, but I actually contributed some vocals, as did my wife, and I know at least a couple of the other people who similarly responded to
pStan Batcow's request for remotely recorded guest vocals. Please sing these words, he said, and send me the file so I can weave it into something I've been working on; and we did. Please feel free to grass me up to the trading standards authority if this is a problem.
Howl in the Typewriter is the organ of pStan Batcow, so to speak, punky DIY stalwart since at least back when I was still at school. He's been at it for a while and is yet to show any sign of reigning it in or, for that matter, giving too much of a shit about sales or catering for any specific audience. Musically he's always carved his own furrow, as does this album, and it's a furrow which still very much works for him and has come to sound more and more unique with each passing year as the part-timers fall by the wayside.
Manifesto is, perhaps typically, an H-bomb scale potshot taken at the commercialism against which Howl have been pitted all these years; and it's a single song lasting over an hour, or at least that's one way of looking at it. Another might be as Crass's Yes Sir, I Will with tunes, or even one of the more impenetrable Jethro Tull concept albums, A Passion Play or one of those; except this is better, or at least I like it more. Howl play a hybrid of punk rock and techno hung on some sort of vaguely proggy structure, themes repeat here and there morphing into reggae, thrash, power electronics, and just plain oddball without it seeming too much like a collage of disparate elements; and whilst its sheer scale and duration is a little demanding, it keeps moving, changing, and manages to never outstay its welcome. I seem to recall reading that Manifesto has been seven years in the making, which I can believe because of the elegance with which all the parts fit together to form a coherent whole, despite being born from a million random elements pulling in different directions. I'm very impressed.
Myself and the missus turn up at around the fourteen minute mark if anyone is interested.
- Review by Andy
Martin, November 2018
In a glossy flyer that accompanied my copy of the album, pStan states that he was averse to advertising it since to advertise an album devoted to an intense criticism of advertising must constitute the epitome of
hypocrisy . . . however, this is grimly ironic because if ever an item merited an advertisement then it is Manifesto by Howl
in the Typewriter.
Now I admit when I first received the album my initial reaction was: Ye Gods, a 64 minute slab of continuous music. Can I be bothered with this right now? You see, at the time of typing this, I am in the midst of writing and recording works for our 37th album (I am one quarter of UNIT) and I really didn’t want my attention distracted by the work of other people. (When we’re working on an album I don’t listen to music from any source other than the group
- in fact, I rarely listen to any music these days that isn’t baroque or contemporary classical.) However, I thought of the years of continual support and encouragement
pStan has given the group in general and myself in particular and it seemed churlish to shove the artefact into the ‘pending’ tray. Besides, the ornate and finely crafted cover intrigued me.
When UNIT completed Roads - Bridges - Space for the album Rock In Opposition: Phase 3 in 2007 we celebrated in style: at 23 minutes duration, this was our longest number. HITT have completed a single work of 64 minutes duration. Apparently it took them 7 years to finish so perhaps it is appropriate its catalogue number is PUMF 777. Now
then . . . how do I respond to a work of this nature? A practical consideration: the presence of numerous profanities (generally a feature of HITT I find annoying, purely because I don’t like swear words unless they are used extremely rarely and for a specific purpose) and the sheer length of the number probably precludes any possibility of radio airplay.
Now for an admission: in the past whenever I’ve received a full album by HITT, although I am confident there will be 5 or 6 tracks I really enjoy, there are always other tracks I find tedious and I have to force myself to refrain from pressing the ‘fast forward’ or ‘skip’ buttons. Perhaps now you can appreciate my trepidation upon receipt of an album comprised of a single
track . . . of 64 minutes duration! Now for another admission: I sat here for every second of those 64 minutes and not once was I bored or irritated
- not once!
When I was made redundant in 2016 I tried for months to find employment, alas without success. When, with extreme reluctance, I signed on the dole, I confronted a bizarre situation: I was obliged to sit at a desk occupied by an immigrant who only came to this country in 2015. She informed me it would be almost impossible for me to find a job or make a claim for ‘universal credit’ (as it is now called) unless I possessed a computer connected to the internet and a mobile phone. It took me less than a second to process this preposterous assertion.
“If you are trying to force me to purchase electronic gadgets before you are willing to proceed with my claim then you leave me no option but to take legal action against this office. Are you prepared to take the consequences of this?” She hummed and hawed for a few seconds and tried to convince me my life really would not be tenable without these electronic gadgets so I added the following injunction (I recorded the interview).
“Besides, since I was made redundant in June and it is now September, we may assume I do not possess any funds and certainly no spare cash with which to purchase a computer, an internet connection and a mobile phone.” This generated a further awkward moment before she decided to fetch her line manager, clearly unable to deal with my case without assistance. 2 hours later my claim was filed and their machine trundled ever onwards with only a hint of a bump as its wheels and gears tripped over the absence of a mobile phone or an internet connection in my personal details. Why do I share this with you? Because, to my knowledge, never has any pop group sought to address this
issue . . . until now. Manifesto says / shouts / whispers / screams exactly, precisely how I felt in that job
Is this the first occasion on which a pop group / artist has issued a CD for which I can honestly state I agree with and endorse 100% of its lyrics from start to finish? Probably. When I mentioned the probable absence of radio airplay earlier, it was not my intention to be flippant
- I stated this as an unfortunate product of the nature of this magnificent CD. You see, if any CD deserves to receive radio airplay then it is this one. Perhaps if a radio friendly version was made in which certain sections were separated into individual tracks and the swear words omitted or bleeped out then some of the contents might receive airplay. However, the aural impact of this mighty work might then be
weakened . . . and that’s what this is: a mighty work.
Twitter, Flicker, Face Book, My Space, Spotify . . . am I still out of date? It seems every year there are another 2 or 3 new forms of social media interfaces designed to ensure people stay stupid by spending most of their time staring at a little screen.
Work . . . buy . . . consume . . . die (The Pop Group). New Car, New Car, Buy Now, Buy Now (J G Ballard). The lyric to this album merits publication as a separate text if only to ensure it is read and understood.
What of the music itself? Often I find some of the HITT contributions to
godspunk [Pumf Records' compilation album series] are a sonic mess that simply irritate
me . . . although almost as often I find other contributions are superb pop songs (but meticulously mutated pop songs, of course). The music on offer here tends toward the latter idiom although there is a hard edged style that often ventures perilously close to progressive rock. Well, that’s not a problem for me
- I love progressive rock - but its subtle complexities may be missed by people accustomed to more accessible music.
The frequent changes in metre, often within the same brief section, the use of major seconds and augmented 7ths and 9ths in the vocal harmonies and the diligent attention to detail (such as the decision to utilise this or that instrument for this or that riff / melodic fragment) reveal why this album required such an extended gestation period. At 36 minutes into the work we enter the world of brutal electronics favoured by Whitehouse and Throbbing Gristle although (alas) this doesn’t endure for long enough in my opinion.
This work benefits from being heard twice from start to finish - once through speakers and once through headphones. This is because the power (especially in the louder segments) can best be appreciated when heard through speakers but the intricacies of the various layers of voices, instruments and taped voices benefit from listening to the work through headphones. Ye Gods this must have been an absolute nightmare to mix. Rarely do you require the booklet which has the complete lyric printed in it;
pStan ensures those words can be heard with magnificent clarity. All in all, I am astounded by the sheer complexity of the work combined with the relentless anger expressed, even during quieter, gentle sections of the music.
At 41 minutes into the piece we are treated to an arrangement of the famous Bolero by Maurice
Ravel . . . bizarre yet oddly appealing. At around 44 minutes most of the instruments are omitted and a brief (too brief) solo vocal section provides a respite from the extreme complexity of the music which in places is as dense as any work by Gentle Giant (and from me that constitutes high praise as I love the work of Gentle Giant).
However, please don’t allow my references to progressive rock and Gentle Giant to deter you if you are averse to that kind of music. This never sounds old fashioned or retrogressive; indeed it is very much music of the 21st century. The presence of numerous other individuals, most of whom contribute to
godspunk, adds further lustre to the project, as their voices and instruments appear briefly now and then in the manner of sonic commentaries on what HITT perform. It’s really very clever but never does it sound contrived or twee. The opening rifferama returns near the end and this creates a unifying factor although the final section in 7/4 metre is one of the work’s most impressive sections if only because of its admirable restraint.
Also oddly appealing is the artwork. This is what one notices first of all. The disc is enclosed in a gatefold glossy cardboard sleeve that opens out to reveal data on the inner pages with a booklet under the other flap. The front cover features an intriguing art work by Andy Paciorek. The name of the group and album title are reserved for the back cover. Initially I read the subtitle under MANIFESTO as ‘a universal declaration of independence’ but on closer inspection the final word is actually ‘indespendence’, the word ‘spend’ being the operative element here. There is even a padded cloth inside the card sleeve to protect the disc.
In my opinion (for whatever that may be worth) I consider this to be the very best work HITT have ever created. Indeed it is so superlative I wonder what they could possibly do next to surpass it in terms of its content and excellence.
- Review by Mark Wharton,
Idwalfisher, December 2018
I like pStan Batcow. I really do. I have lots of reasons to like him, one of them being that he managed to survive a stint in the Ceramic Hobs which, when you learn that
pStan never touches a drop of John Barleycorn is nothing short of remarkable. He’s quietly run the Pumf label for many, many years now with little in the way of recognition and he used to send me his
godspunk compilations until he either a) got fed up of my negative reviews of them or b) got fed up of me. I haven’t heard from him in a very long time and thought that maybe he’d fallen out with me which, with hindsight and knowing
pStan a tiny bit, is very un-Batcow-ish of him. How silly of me. Howl in the Typewriter is
pStan’s also long-running-with-little-in-the-way-of-recognition solo project. I remember listening to a Howl cassette on a train going somewhere a long time ago and marveling at
pStan’s ability to weave samples of TV commercials and humdrum conversation in to his songs, something that he’d bring with great effect to at least two Ceramic Hobs albums.
After listening to Manifesto I now realize that me and pStan have even more in common; a genuine loathing of advertising, consumerism,
capitalism and greed. For Manifesto is pStan’s rock opera cum concept album regarding the nefarious ubiquity of advertising, consumerism,
capitalism and greed and probably lots of other things too. The way such things pervade and sully our quotidian experience, the way such things reduce everything and everybody to a marketable commodity.
Advertising is hard to ignore and easy to hate. Personally it makes commercial radio and television unbearable for me, it makes news media websites a pain to load and while technology has led to more tailored and specific advertising I still think all those hours of having sat through Tampax and Head and Shoulders adverts are hours I have wasted and could have spent more creatively. Top of the Grinding My Gears List comes car advertising. Do people really see an advert for a car and think to themselves ‘you know what I think I’ll go out tomorrow and spend 15K on the new Golf’
- and why do adverts for cars always show happy people driving around deserted streets on their way to the shops or pulling surf boards off the roof rack in deserted coves when the reality is the roads are full of potholes and psychotic meatheads trying to overtake you in a 30.
I’m sure pStan feels the same way. Over the last several years he he’s been compiling all the songs that make up Manifesto and has finally in 2018 put it all together into one big long track. And while I applaud his sentiments entirely I found sitting through this hour long magnum opus a bit of a tough listen. This mainly due to all manner of people contributing what becomes the theme of the release; the oft repeated mantra
"We don’t fucking want
What you're trying to fucking sell
Shove it up your fucking arse
Then fuck off and go to hell"
which is hardly Bob Dylan, but you get the sentiment. pStan’s guitar playing is all buzz and saw, many tracks are built on a drum machine pattern and are littered with samples of mundane television adverts for breakfast cereals, detergents, fabric softeners, buy one get one free offers, he
sings / talks about the uncaring nature of big business and every heartfelt bit of it resonates with me but as an item of listening pleasure I found it tough going.
pStan’s biggest problem is that without advertising he’s struggling to spread the word. Oh the irony. I’m here though and I’ll tell you that for £5 [including p&p] you get a delightful gatefold CD sleeve with booklet and two stickers, one of which is a picture of a burning cigarette with the word ‘idiot’ running through it.
pStan’s next project perhaps?
- Review by Mick Magic, The Magic Net, Dec 2018
It started with an e-mail from pStan on February 13th;
"I wonder if you'd be willing to record a vocal for me for inclusion on the long-planned-but-getting-nearer-reality next Howl in the Typewriter album? It has an anti-advertising theme, and its chorus is going to be the following lines (being returned to sporadically, but in a different form each time): "We don't fucking want, what you're trying to fucking sell, shove it up your fucking arse, then fuck off and go to hell." Could you record those words for me, however you want them to scan - spoken, sung, screamed, whatever? I'm asking quite a few people then hopefully each chorus will be very different whilst being the same. If you catch my drift."
Of course, I'm no great fan of commercialism myself, and who could turn down the opportunity to do some swearing on another band's album? The Man From Del Monte, he say "Yes!" Little bit of irony there. ;-) Well, the finished product turned up here a week or so ago (a few copies to boot, nice man, mostly), and very nice it is too. Presented in a gatefold card sleeve, even including a black cloth insert to stop the disc getting scratched, complete with libretto booklet (and trust me, "Alternate medicines from China, insert tampon into vagina" beats anything you'll see in Sammy Cahn's famous "Songwriter's Rhyming Dictionary"!) so you can Singalonga-Max. Well,
Rantalonga-pStan. It comes in with a bang on a kind of XTC meets
Chumbawamba vibe, and doesn't let you off the hook for the whole of its 64 minutes. It's not tracks as such, there are no 5 minute bursts of creativity followed by 2 second silences, it is all one coherent work, a suite, if you like. OMG! IT'S A FUCKING CONCEPT ALBUM! That's wonderful, it isn't something you'd expect at this end of the musical spectrum, concept albums are normally the remit of funny looking dudes in wizard's capes (sorry, Rick) and daft buggers who think their Ford Escort can travel through time and space (um), but this is thoughtful post punk, complete with stranger elements and a serious message; heavy indie and psyche bits, Germanic elektroniksche (yes, I do make these words up), TV cuts (a word from our sponsor) and abstract experimentalism. This musical (and elsewhereical) warning about the evils of consumerism was a hugely ambitious idea that has been heroically realised and is well worth the fiver
pStan is charging for it, though I still think he should have done it at £4.99 and really milked the irony! You'll find a couple-of-minute-long teaser on the Pumf website, and a slightly longer extract on a special radioshow Lord Litter (a fellow contributor, as was Shaun Robert of
Factor X, another name that will probably be familiar to M&E fans) put together for Hal McGee's Electronic Cottage.
pStan deserves an award if just for the epic mastering this must have entailed, highly recommended.
PARENTAL ADVISORY: Do not play in front of 5-year-old daughters, unless you actually want them to tell Grandma to fuck off and go to
hell . . .
- Review by Hiroshima Yeah! #166, December 2018
"Pumf Records has been releasing music since 1984, often to little or no response", begins the press release, before going on to state that Howl in the Typewriter's Manifesto (subtitled A Universal Declaration of
Indespendence) is "a single 64-minute-long song, a vehemently vitriolic anti-advertising rant weaving in and out of aural coherence with traces of
electronica, reggae, thrash punk, noise and abstract experimentalism threaded together with the ever-changing time signatures synonymous with Howl in the Typewriter's oeuvre, and featuring guest chorus contributions from a list of underground luminaries too numerous to mention". Bizarrely, and no-such-thing-as-coincidentally, one of these "underground luminaries" happens to be someone with whom I had a bit of a postal spat back in the mid-1990s; someone who informed me rather haughtily, when I was the CEO of KAW Tapes, that I "shouldn't be charging people money for stuff that's so badly recorded", seemingly unaware of respected
lo-fi artistes like Daniel Johnston, The Mountain Goats, Guided By Voices and, for that matter, Hank Williams, The Carter Family and Robert Johnson. Another weird coincidence (?) I simply MUST mention is that this anti-advertising-themed CD arrived while the UK was in the midst of Black Friday FEVER, yet another steaming pile of dogshit that we've inherited from the good old
U$A. What further proof do you NEED that we are, in fact, all living in a simulated reality?! But, getting back to this here Manifesto album for a
moment . . . it's a beautifully packaged, intricately woven tapestry of serious social commentary and sweary slapstick that sometimes reminds me of Luke Haines and prompts the listener to "turn against entrepreneurs" and "become the person that you want to be
[. . .] no longer trapped into buying what they want to sell, boxed and gift-wrapped". In that spirit, I have a couple of spare copies of this, if anybody out there would like one.
Er, IS there anybody out there?!
- Review by War Arrow, The Sound
Projector #10, 2002
Well, it's full marks for the title even before we start. Howl is mainly
Stan Batcow who's been at it for years through the medium of cassettes, and the odd flexidisc. And now a CD. In many ways, Stan’s work highlights exactly what is wrong with the
CDR glut that has all but killed the similarly independent, but otherwise quite different home cassette boom of years gone by. People just have more money now.
Possibly too much. Anyone can do a CDR they say. No they fucking can't. I
don't have a CD burner. Maybe I should go for the bread, water and instant noodles diet so
I can afford one, but frankly I've had enough of such austerity. The fact is that many people start, or at least started, recording music on cassette because that was what was available and affordable, and there's nothing which stimulates invention and innovation so much as having only a minimum of equipment which barely works, because you can't afford to repair or replace it. For example, I've just been listening to an old classic from 1982
- Adventures Of Twizzle's Complete Sensory Deprivation C60: a mono tape recorder, an echo box and - well - that's pretty much it, but against all odds (one would imagine) it still sounds as exciting as it did a whole scary twenty years ago. And why? Because with a budget of £1.49 AOT obviously must have come close to
sweating blood in order to get the best out of their ludicrously humble recording set up.
Today it seems - and I don't give a fuck how much of a self-important arse this makes me sound - these CDR kids just don't have the background of struggle which allows them to truly develop and focus their art. They just haven't paid their dues. One flick of a credit card and the stuff comes out of its box, is wired up and next day - wow - another teeth grindingly tedious CDR of formless pointless looped laptop wank that the world doesn't need. Gods! It makes me baity!
Howl, on the other hand, have covered the groundwork, coaxed noises from fizzling bundles of wires and, over the years, become intimately familiar with the ropes. Of course, having been at it a while, Stan has actually accumulated some half-decent equipment as well as an understanding of how to use it with a modicum of inspiration. So here at last is a CD (and a proper CD mind) from one of those 'cassette bands' everyone seems to get so sniffy about.
As basic concepts go, vaguely techno-inspired instrumentals laden with sampled snippets of dialogue may not be what you'd call revolutionary, but this hardly matters when its done with such originality and a finely developed sense of the bizarre. I mention techno only as the nearest available point of reference, there's only about two or three tracks which you might dance to if you really felt so inclined. Elegantly understated tunes and superbly orchestrated samples, or other effects, carry the music here. At times it is uplifting, at others positively haunting (track 17, for example, which displays the most moving use of mains hum I've ever heard), in turn both scary and funny, even irritating in the case of one track which sounds like tinny music from a computer game you'd find in a chip shop about ten years ago. Sampled dialogue, particularly from film soundtrack (I've spotted bits of The Thing, Blade Runner, and even
Zardoz) can be one fuck of a cliché in the wrong hands, which it usually is, but here it takes on the quality of a Max Ernst collage, creating a whole separate universe with its own laws and logic - until one eventually forgets this method was also employed by Sigue Sigue Sputnik in order to convey how futuristic they were. It's kind of like
a DJ album without turntables, but a whole lot better than DJ albums usually are. Maybe a DIY Fat Boy Slim if he was blessed with imagination, or Scanner if his stuff wasn't appalling toss. Or maybe if the Severed Heads had pursued the line of 'Dead Eyes Opened' a bit more. Is this plunderphonics or something?
I don't know. Actually, I don't care. It's a cracking album and I haven't stopped playing it since it popped through my letterbox two months ago. Howl In The Typewriter have done what few have managed - released a CD which is
as good as a cassette. Redundant CDR laptop bores take note.
- Review by Cheeses
International mail order service, 2002
I've been in contact with Stan of Pumf Records for probably less than a year,
initially through the two Ceramic Hobs CD's. I would have stocked them, as I enjoyed them thoroughly, but felt that they would seem out of place on the Cheeses International stock list. However, with this gem (also out of place) I've stuck my neck
out, as this is one of those very few albums that every home should have. On the blurb that came with my complimentary copy was the name-dropping of Negativland
& Severed Heads. I'm not too familiar with the latter's output, but I can certainly declare that it rekindles the finer moments of Negativland's work: 'escape from noise' & 'helter stupid'. The majority of this (if not all) is made up of samples of recognisable
bands / tv etc. Listen to the Beach Boys as you've never heard them before
& wasn't that an over-enthusiastic (as ever) Johnathan Pearce? The CD is split into three sections of 8 tracks each but instead of titles they are represented by a symbol: 'skull
& cross-bones', 'a pair of scissors' & 'square root of minus one' etc. Highly recommended, essential listening, a disc you'll go back to time and again. Also,
HitT have released a double tape set entitled: 'Dog-turd in Shrewsbury', if that isn't incentive enough to support this man then what is?
- Review by Modern Dance
What do Paul Jones, Vincent Price, Zardoz, Bladerunner, The Man With X Ray Eyes, and loads of cult inconography have in common? Many samples of the above can be found flitting in and out of the tracks on this album. Where to start? Imagine William Burroughs during his cut up period, and him having access to a computer, a sampler, and creating soundscapes, and then sending them off to Andy Warhol far the final edit. Grand Theft Audio is a compilation of three mini
LPs by Howl, and despite my initial reservations (i.e. before I played it) it's absolutely brilliant. There are so many aspects that make this an incredibly good album, first, you can spend an age working out who's who and what's what, especially with the samples kind of sneaking in and out. The music 'collages' work pretty good as well, with guitars keyboards and soundscapes forming nothing short of a
multi-layered cultural mosaic. The tracks don't have titles, as such, but all are represented by dingbats. Dingbats, for those of you who aren't familiar with the name, is a form of small icons that come as a standard 'font' on most computers. These Dingbats, for instance, when you spell a word, they come out as little pictures
and / or symbols. Track 13 is a banana, track 24 is a cross, track 17 is a telephone. There's 24 tracks in all, with one or two recurring samples and 'themes', but due to the nature of the editing and production, they're quite different. It has to be heard to be believed, a jolly good time can be had by
- Review by Mark Wharton, Just Glittering, 2002
It's great to be able to tell all you fun seekers out there that you should go out and buy this piece of plastic because if you like any of the following - Nurse With Wound,
Negativland, Future Sound of London, The Orb, Cosmonauts hail Satan and (as the press release says) 'very probably a million and seven other bands' - you will like this. Twenty-four tracks all with their own symbol so as to confuse the fuck out of people who sit around pub tables discussing this sort of crap because Mr Howl couldn't be arsed to make up names for
'em . . . but that's the smallest gripe you're going to get because this is sample heaven with dodgy bits thrown in for all those who like any of the above. If I was going to be extremely uncharitable I could say that this is an easy way to make music, but having tried it myself I now know differently. And where the hell did he get half those samples? My favourite is 'the gun is good, the penis is evil' (spoken in a deadly sotto voce alien god like
stylee) which comes in late on track twenty-three (the pointy gloved finger track) but there's lots more you should seek out. Maybe invite some friends round and play spot the sample over a glass of sherry and some finger
- Review by Mark Ritchie,
Hiroshima Yeah! #149, July 2017
All the track titles on this CD (a compilation of three mini-LPs, although I
have no clue where each mini-LP begins or ends) are represented by symbols,
which is probably how things will be in the not-too-distant future, when the
Emoji Police take over what's left of "this godless rock that refuses
to die" (© Father John Misty). This is a bewildering stew of samples,
beats and largely electronic instruments that's quirky and fun - like a much
better, more subversive version of Jive Bunny - although a bit of a slog to
listen to all the way through in one sitting (which, of course, I DID!)
Trying to work out where all the samples come from is probably a sure-fire
way to drive yourself insane, though I THINK I can detect Vincent Price and
Dusty's 'Son of a Preacher Man' in there somewhere.