K7R - the Official October 18th, 1991E.V. Vermin Supreme for Mayor Sound Assault Committee / the Official October 20th, 1991E.V. Vermin Supreme Campaign Managers

- $6.00 - (90 minutes)


From: the "Baltimore Alternative" - January '92 - us@

Tired of the same old campaign rhetoric? (Which, no doubt, you'll be hearing a lot of this year.) Well Baltimore's Widemouth Tapes may have the antidote. They have recently produced a tape of two campaign speeches by ex-Baltimorean Vermin Supreme, who recently ran for Mayor. (He makes it a point to run for Mayor in whatever city he happens to be visiting.) His comment on most pressing issues is "no comment," he freely admits his willingness to be bought, and his platform includes vinyl siding on all historical landmarks, taxing "the bejesus out of everything," and assuring free beer and pizza for all.

His speeches are backed up by a group that includes filmmaker/musician/self-styled mad scientist tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE and musician/sculptor Neil Feather, whose instruments are featured on the tape.

The ensemble also includes "erector set percussion," alto sax, basses, violin, guitar and trumpet. Despite the fact that this is ostensibly Vermin Supreme's tape, the music is just as important than the words, if not more so; in fact, there are long stretches where he doesn't talk at all.

The music itself, a combination of free-form playing and planned improvisational units, takes elements from rock, jazz and classical bit it doesn't strictly fit any categories. It seems to owe more to avant-garde composers like Harry Partch and John Cage than anything else, though. Most of the time it works remarkably well.

Considering the fact that each side was recorded in one continuous 45-minute take, it's not surprising that there are some technical and musical flaws. The tape could have benefitted from some judicious editing, but don't let that deter you from checking this out. Get one for yourself and one for your least-favorite political candidate.


From: the Baltimore "City Paper" - April '92 - us@

Official, October 18th, 1991E.V. Vermin Supreme for Mayor Sound Assault Committee

Official, October 18th, 1991E.V. Vermin Supreme for Mayor Sound Assault Committee

Led by Baltimore's Official, Early 1990s, Bookstore-Working, Zipper-Pants-Wearing, Tattooed-Scalped tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, this band changes its name to reflect the date, location, and general circumstances of its performances. Thus the band has been called 1) the Official, May 5th, 1990E.V. 31st St. Between Barclay & Greenmount, Block Party Combo; 2) the Official, June 23rd, 1990E.V. Patapsco Park, McKeldin Area, Paul & Cindy's Wedding Trio; and more recently, 3) the Official, April 29, 1992E.V. Group That Accepts Money From Institutions. The "Official" bio booklet notes that when the band rehearses, it refers to itself as P.D.T.T.B.A., or Place/Date/Time-to-Be-Announced.

Like its name, the group's sound continually shifts and changes. No two gigs are alike, because the band members' playing and interaction are cue-activated, a spontaneous, compositional device that allows the players to improvise within a structure of suggestions and directions. It's sort of like John Zorn's "game pieces" or Iannis Xenakis' Duel. For the Vermin Supreme show, the band pops, whistles, bangs, drones, and squawks under Supreme's spooky-sounding, but often hilarious, recitation of his campaign platform. (Vermin Supreme has run a couple of memorable campaigns for mayor of Baltimore.) "Let me run your life," Supreme says vacantly. "I know what is best for you. Smile and have a nice day. Vermin Supreme. The friendly fascist. A tyrant you can trust." It's especially effective with the presidential election looming; on the day this tape arrived in my mailbox, Bill Clinton campaigned in Annapolis while George Bush hurled in Japan. Somehow, it all seemed so synchronistic.


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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.