8624 - Laughingstock
- Stephens; Vonna-Michel; HOPCAS (Hopkins Conceptual Art Society); tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE; cheek; Hypercleats; YZ; the Tinklers; Whitehead; Litvinov; Impossible Theater - $6.00 - (90 minutes)
From: "Option" #C(to the 2nd power) - us@
LAUGHINGSTOCK I get a lot of weird stuff in the mail and have to say that Widemouth is definitely...out there. I read the catalog three times and still couldn't figure out what the tapes were about. Played the tape they sent. Severe art damage. All you interplanetary undergroundlings should probably get on their mailing list. - Bob Morris
From: "Factsheet Five" #31 - us@
Various Artists, "Laughingstock": All manner of strange experimental stuff here. It starts off with Chuck Stephens' "Irving Dervish": Disney cartoon music done by malevolent child-hating dwarves on crack. Later on we get 2 minuts of Janor Hypercleats rants, a clarinet version of the Woody Woodpecker theme from Kevin Whitehead, and a multiple voice spoken piece called "Three Voice Ventriloquism" -- and that's less than half the tracks here. A sideways slice through experimental cassette culture. (T/MG)
From: "Sound Choice" #3 - us@
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Laughingstock (C-90) This compilation documenting the Baltimore underground [actually, the selections are from Baltimore, London, & Little Rock] offers a mixed bag of music, sound text pieces, and found sound collages. Laughingstock's motto is "shot through the heart of comedy, torn in with the digital necessity of time." Many of the selections reflect this sense of whimsy. Industrial textures prevail [remember the days when anything even remotely involving electronics suddenly became associated w/ the "Industrial" trend? Ho hum], and the sound quality is deliberately crude to reinforce the point. Speakers deliver cryptic recitations to the accompaniment of hugely distorted roars and rumblings; unfortunately their words often disappear in the murk. One notable exception, "Compliments to Vesna," is a taped collection of compliments which humorously points up the inanity of praise. The most fully realized piece here is Impossible Theater's "Three Voice Ventriloquism," an ingenuous examination of the relationship between ventriloquist, dummy, and audience, flawed only by a pedestrial score which fails to utilize the resources of the Synclavier digital synthesizer on which it is performed. Instrumental selections include a lugubrious saxophone [clarinet] rendition of the Woody Woodpecker theme and a tune which sounds like neg-Romper Room music. Although details about the artists are a bit sketchy, Laughingstock provides a good overview of a certain element of Baltimore's subculture. [see 1st note]
From: "Free Media Awareness" - preprint 3 - us@
WIDEMOUTH CASSETTE TAPES: "LAUGHINGSTOCK" This compilation of toy instrumentals, sound poetry and effects is one of a handful of taped products that reaches with vengeance toward the full, fuzzy potential of the medium, grabs words, shakes social relations, and delivers a body of sound demanding to be received solely for what it is - period, buzz cut.
to V.C. home page - to S.P.C.S.M.E.F home page - to N.A.A.M.C.P. home page
to A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
to Widémouth Tapes home page - to Widémouth Tapes Catalog - to Usic Essays home page
The reviews are not necessarily copied verbatim from the original. Usually, small apparent typos are corrected & obsolete addresses are removed. In some cases, I may choose to leave misspellings, misinformation, etc intact to demonstrate how sloppy the reviewer is. Of course, there may be times when the original packaging was confusing (deliberately or otherwise) which may effect the reviewer's comprehension. The more recent the tapes are, the less likely this is to be the case. Most of the recent tapes provide fairly extensive liner notes. In some cases, reviewers whose native language isn't English may be writing in English anyway for the sake of 'internationalizing' their reviews. Obviously, this may lead to what strikes native English speakers as 'bad' English. Hopefully, equally obviously, this should not be interpreted as a lack of intelligence in the writing. Editorial notes may be inserted into the reviews in [brackets]. In many instances, I (tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE) replied to reviews that I disagreed with strongly. These replies are included here. In some cases, I may add additional retrospective comments.