Boomkat Product Review:
Outlandish non-music dons Smegma cavort between primitivist ritual, free jazz-alike skronk, and butt-naked animalistic badness on a mid ‘70s salvo delivered by the amazing Alga Marghen
The legendary band’s 3rd instalment of work from their “Suburban Primitive Avant-folk music” era 1973-75 spies them getting loosey goosey in Pasadena, CA, with the sort of ruckus that definitely would have lowered the tone of their neighbourhood in thee best way. Depending one’s perspective, it’s either unhinged or immense fun, and we regard ourselves to see it from the latter, recalling hose sort of shows that we go to every so often, where sensibilities are out of the window and heads feel refreshed in a way only this kind of lark can do.
Following jazz, rock ’n roll, and avant garde musick’s pre-established unzipping of convention along lines dug by likes of Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, Art Ensemble of Chicago, or John Cage, the rabble of Smegma took those notions to the nth degree with gloriously sprawling results that make a virtue of madness. Of course it’s not for everyone, and you’ll unlikely ever hear it on the radio, but in terms of music’s historic development during that era, the band unbuckled strictures in a way that mirrored actionist painting and unveiled a depth of soul that simply isn’t reached by other forms.
Like their corollary experimental artforms, there’s no doubt a sense of coherence to the madness though, with ‘Infringements’ enacting a sidelong trip into cosmic ballistic psychedelic-folkvia prepare piano, modular synth and guttural utterance, beside the honking Ra-like ripper ‘Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow’, and the deadly spangled cool of ‘I’ll have Julie Nixon Eisenhower for my appetizer (sour lungs to my surprise)’.