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MP3 John Schuller - Lesser Angel of Failure

Fake Ethnic Music, True Outsider Music, Alien Music, Sadcore, Real Folk Depression, Confusion, Eyvind Kang plays on this.

10 MP3 Songs in this album (49:24) !
Related styles: AVANT GARDE: Experimental, AVANT GARDE: Avant-Americana

People who are interested in The Residents Secret Chiefs 3 Sun City Girls should consider this download.


Details:
Musicians on this cd -

John Schuller. Eyvind Kang, Brad Mowen, Bill Horist, Phil Petrocelli, Randall Dunn, Nancy Scranton, Tahieko Uri

Reviews of "Lesser Angel of Failure"

From Downtown Music Gallery 11/2002 -

Review of John Schuller''S "Lesser Angel of Failure"

"When I first got this promo in the mail, I glanced at the return address from World Misery Recordings and thought, "Oh no, not more death metal poop to toss into circular file?!?" Lucky for me, Manny insisted I hear it and we were completely blown away by this bizarre treasure. Can''t say that I''ve heard of Seattle based John Schuller before, but his wonderfully weird cd does include the playing of violin visionary Eyvind Kang and Bill Horist, another name that sounds rather familiar. Beginning with "Another Hanging", we get an enchanting electric guitar and piano tinkling intro, which is later overtaken by restrained but heavy feedback mutations, with some lead guitar squirming out of the thick mass/mess. By the time we get to the title track, we get someone named Brad Mowen singing in a bizarre, dweezling (invented?) language, a sort of alien lullaby. "Vanilla Sufi" features exotic zither sounds, distant droning electronics, ritualistic drumming whatnot, all in a mesmerizing haze. While John plays warped piano on "E Tempo Di Morire", Brad once again mumbles/laughs with his alien voice like a deranged mental patient. Things get even stranger on "Civil War Bukakke" with layers of more mutant transmissions, screechy death-rattle violin and swirling carnival psychosis. On "Super Density Song" there is a central enchanting yet disturbing melody, which is played by Eyvind''s completely tortured violin and John''s somber, sustained electric guitar squall. On "Kweekamae Mao", we get more ridiculous layers of alien vocals from John and Brad, recalling some early Residents-like weirdness. Schuller claims inspiration from the Sun City Girls (amongst others) who are also living in Seattle and I can hear some Secret Chiefs in there as well. Considering I had never heard of John Schuller before, this is certainly a surprising treasure of grand alien transmissions from another world"

- Bruce Gallanter

From The Wire Magazine 1/2003 -

Review of John Schuller''s "Lesser Angel of Failure"

If Misery loves company, John Schuller and his posse of Seattle outsider musicians have a funny way of making friends with their artful equations of World Music and the world''s woes. By Matt ffytche



The striking pictorial cover of Lesser Angel of Failure uses an illustration of Holman Hunt''s painting The Scapegoat. That popular item of Victoriana had a particular story to tell, but this release from World Misery is strikingly short of polemical detail. We''re left with a goat - half shaggy dog, half chocolate box mascot - in a psychedelic wasteland, and the general gist of sadcore evidenced by the short bleak trail of the WMR back catalogue: 01/2000, World Misery I: 10,000 Years Is Like A Minute To God... 04/2000, World Misery IV: I Am My Worst Enemy, and so on. All of them solo recordings of John Schuller on a mix of electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards and radio: all of them pressed in limited edition of 20. They amount to a kind of apocryphal no-hoper codex, a semi-private testimony to the most lugubrious post-millennium depression since January 1000.

Lesser Angel of Failure, the first in a new phase of public releases for WMR, represents an abrupt change in critical momentum for the label and for Schuller. The turn sees him teaming up with a loose knit posse of Seattle-based musicians, unpleasantly dubbed The Master Musicians of Bukkake, and including the avant bowing of Eyvind Kang''s viola: the goat is not alone. "Another Hanging" opens the celebration with a slithery, hollow slide into morbidity. Nancy Scranton''s piano tinkles slowly but intently like a musical box unwinding in a 70''s thriller flick. She''s shadowed by Schuller''s softly burning touch on the electric guitar, the two of them pirouetting in the howling cavernous darkness like flickering torches. Somebody somewhere is baying for blood while Eyvind Kang coaxes pensive bat shrieks from his viola. The following "Electric Candyland" eases the sound towards a pile-driving blister - Schuller the is time on guitars and bathtub - while Randall Dunn supplies the electronic processing to create a mash of Hendrix and Merzbow: an overdriven pulsating wail moulded by spinier stutters of electronic shorting. The effect is like gulls shrieking inside an empty water cistern, So far, so Gothic/Industrial.

It''s only with the title track that the rationale of World Misery and it''s Master Musicians starts to unfold. For what transpires is a deranged faux globalism, a large ensemble massacre of World Music devotion, to be replaced by a vibrant, billowing, outsider music. Call it: World Misery. "Lesser Angel of Failure" sounds like a pisstake of classical Hawaiian singing performed by Keiji Haino. With John Schuller lending support on the record player, Brad Mowen invents these pinched and whining vocals, like a childish parody of a Japanese musical. It''s so obviously grating that annoyance becomes part of it''s aesthetic purpose - a kind of anti-crooning. Peel away the airbrushed cross-fertilisations and celebratory synthesis of a decade of World Music to find blistering silhouettes of incomprehension worked and whorled under the skin - a negative tattoo of international contact: communication''s shadow.

For "Vanilla Sufi", the Master Musicians approach the sound of a multiple one man band - thumping, boingy bass drum and plinking, loose stringed zithers. I imagine them ambling round in an anti-trance, aspiring not towards transport but inanity. Even the Bauls of Bengal don''t approach this level of outsiderdom. With "Civil War Bukkake", the lesser angel looks homeward in a staged Library of Congress recording (I was cheered to see WFMU radio station in New Jersey playing this track alongside Fred McDowell''s "Shake ''Em on Down"). A raggle taggle army of pipers, hollerers, fiddlers and bass drum bangers march their way onto the set of a Spaghetti Western harping enthusiastically on a simple seven note riff. When the main gang recedes, the interlinked guitar of Schuller and Bill Horist are left twining their out-rock garlands a la Captain Beefheart.

"Super Density Song" continues with a cross between the Dirty Three and Haino''s hungry ghost music in Nijiumu, the improvised scrape and wheedle of Kang''s viola sounding like an orchestra of howling coyotes. "Kweekamae Mao" adds a Casio-lite rhythm to choreograph an argument between a samurai and a deranged geisha. This really is Beefheart (with overtones of Damo Suzuki) let loose to overdub a late night Japanese sword and sorcery cartoon - swamp madness infesting the waters formerly reserved for HipHop. A far cry from David Toop''s manifestos for Ambient cultural drift, this music sounds like an attempt to spit out world culture, to regain a kind of expressive outsider primitivism.

And yet, here''s the ironic rub: they''ve fed on, absorbed so much from postmodernity''s ethnic trade winds, that their soulful insides are nothing more than a mish-mash of other spiritual domiciles. The moment the world misericordians come together for a stomp at the border of PoMo city, they find this faux global music coming out: they gibber in Sufi, they complain in obscure Japanese rites, they gnash their teeth in Bedouin (see "Camel Dragged to Death"). Seattle becomes no place but this hazy stream of cultural distortion, bundled up into ad hoc jamborees and funeral rites, and culminating in "Bulimian Rhapsody", a regurgitation of Central European emotional zest in a trade of tablas, zithers and percussion which ascend towards a cacophonous vocal ululation. The lesser angels of failure take to the sky like a swarm of locusts: but the plague city seems to be everywhere and nowhere. The more they sick it up, the more it sticks to them with a gutsy, swaggering outsider aplomb.

- Matt ffytche


From The BBC - 01/2003

Review of John Schuller''s "Lesser Angel of Failure"

"...far too convincing, intense and unsettling to be dismissed (or appreciated) as some sort of ironic, po-mo diversion..."



Schuller is one of those musical eccentrics who inhabit the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. in substantial numbers, drawing upon the area''s peculiar convergence of styles, cultures and sensibilities.

The influences on this CD (as much as they can be untangled) are noise metal, dark ambient, industrial, Asian and world music, Native American and traditional folk - with rock and jazz more or less assumed. Subtitled the History of Misery Series, Volume One, from The Library of World Misery, this is predictably not a barrel of laughs, although the dominant mood is perhaps a kind of madcap gallows humor, i.e., "you gotta laugh to keep from cryin''."

The opening track, "another hanging," is a disturbed (and disturbing) dreamscape built around a stumbling but mesmerizing piano etude (as played by a not-very-precocious child during a daily practice), with an additional languid motif on electric guitar, and squalling figures from Eyvind Kang''s violin.

This gently warped lyricism is soon displaced by "electric candyland," which is filled with distorted rumbling and overdriven guitar noises ranging from howls to sci-fi lab pulses and whines. One can almost see Igor emerging from the chemical fog, ready to do his master''s bidding.

Without any transition at all, the listener is transported to some sort of faux Japanese court, where an artless, on-and-off-key male falsetto voice babbles inscrutable syllables over a repetitive organ riff. Then it''s back to electronic static (with some crazed laughter) in "vanilla sufi," which evolves into another insistent, hypnotic pattern from Schuller''s strummed zither, along with Bill Horist''s rhythm guitar and some deep, thumping ritual percussion. And so it goes, for the entire ten selections on the CD, with one improbable musical scenario mutating into another. And another...

On one level, it would be easy to dismiss Lesser Angel of Failure as artless and crude. Indeed, the entire CD contains precious little evidence of any instrumental (or vocal) expertise. But that criticism would miss the point; the extraordinary impact of this music comes from the unlikely juxtapositions and configurations which force the mind (and ear) onto rutted, weed-infested roads leading to strange, unimaginable destinations.

Some tracks have a vaguely programmatic quality, e.g., "another hanging" sounds sad, disconnected and quietly unsettling, while "civil war bukakke" (the ragged march) has qualities of mindless, even obscene futility. Other pieces, though, such as "camel dragged to death" and "bulimian rhapsody," provide no obvious literal associations between titles and music, which is probably a very good thing (!).

Clearly, Schuller''s work contains an element of parody, but most of his work is far too convincing, intense and unsettling to be dismissed (or appreciated) as some sort of ironic, po-mo diversion. You may hate this CD, or you may love it. It may just leave you scratching your head and muttering to yourself. But in a world of cookie-cutter, rubber stamp music, it surely stands out.

- Bill Tilland

From Midheaven/Revolver Distribution 03/2003 -

Description of "Lesser Angel of Failure"

"The latest in alien soundscape transmissions from Seattle guitarist JOHN SCHULLER and THE MASTER MUSICIANS OF BUKKAKE--EYVIND KANG (SECRET CHIEFS 3 and SUN CITY GIRLS collaborator), BILL HORIST (KK NULL collaborator), BRAD MOWEN (BURNING WITCH), PHIL PETROCELLI, RANDALL DUNN, NANCY SCRANTON, and TAHIEKO URI. An odd and inspired blend of electric guitar, piano, feedback, violin, electronics, zither and weird vocals, all brought together to form a mesmerizing and highly bizarre treasure for the ears. For fans of the Tzadik, Avant, Abduction, Ipecac and Web Of Mimicry labels. Received a glowing full-page review in the January

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