K7V - Official Business - 6 Months of +/- 37 Public CAMUs

- $6.00 - (90 minutes)


From: "The Alternative Voice" #3? - February '91? - us@


"6 Months of +/- Public"

(Tape/ 20 songs 90 min)

I don't know if it would be accurate to call these 'songs,' because, as the label list 'em, they're all 'free form.' The end result sounds like, say, Nitzer Ebb or Pere Ubu in someone's garage making lots and lots of noise. ($6.00? Widemouth Tapes, Box 382, Baltimore, MD, 21203 USA)



(unpublished as far as I 'know')

Dear Alternative Voice,

Thank you for your thoughtful review of "Official Business - 6 Months of +/- Public" (or "Official Business - 6 Months of +/- 37 Public CAMUs" as it's known to people who have time to read the full title). As someone who's been "performing" (to use the layperson's term) publically for, at least, 28 years now, i appreciate it when editors & reviewers take so much time to consider my material - it must be hard for you to fit into your busy schedule - after all, i'm sure it's quite a task to put out such a sophisticated magazine!

I've always thought that accomplishing a lot with as little effort as possible is admirable - hence, it seems incumbent upon me to compliment your remarkable ability in this area. Let's analyze the 1st of the 2 sentences in your review: "I don't know if it would be accurate to call these 'songs,' because, as the label list 'em, they're all 'free form.'" Amazing. The subtlety of your strategy might escape the unobservant reader, though, insofar as they'll have no way of knowing what you've so carefully not alluded to. For example, let's take the anagram "CAMU" (which stands for "Cue Activated Modular Unit") that you've left out of the title of the tape. The idea of the CAMU is explained in the booklet that i sent with the tape: This anagram is a concise explanation of, & term for, the structural units - so, when you write that you're not sure whether to call these units "'songs'", the unperceptive reader mightn't understand that you're trying to call into question the validity of cliché musical language without alienating your audience with concepts that require greater study. Further proof of your approach along these lines is your referring to this tape as containing "20 songs" directly underneath/after where you've deleted "37 CAMUs" in the title. Rather than disturb the reader's mind with accuracy, you lead them on with something more manageable in order to not scare them away from a listening (a listening that, of course, a busy scholar such as yourself wouldn't, again, have time for).

In fact, your total absence of accuracy in your review functions as the highest compliment i could expect. After all, you've apparently realized that you couldn't possibly do justice to our ideas in such a small space - so you've described the tape in the most idiotic terms in order to isolate the vast world of possibilities as a unstated sphere surrounding your language. Brilliant! Comparing us to "Pere Ubu" is another stroke of genius along these lines. The unsuspecting sucker who believes that mediocre & derivative hacks (like the very ordinary band that goes by the name "Pere Ubu") are worth listening to may buy our tape after reading your review & justly give us their money rather than spending it on something that they might hurt themselves with - & the knowledgable reader who can read between the vapid spaces will realize that, of course, you're really referring to the character (that the aforementioned abysmal band took their name from) created by the great french writer Alfred Jarry & get excited by the possibility that maybe our material will be as ground-breaking as his was.

Anyway, not wanting to strain your eyes by having you scan too much paper after only reading the 1st sentence of this (& having already put much more time into this letter of praise for you than you apparently had time to devote to the reading of the 36 pages of text that i sent you) i just want to further salute the genius of your powers of omission by listing a few of the things that your highly selective mind left for the investigative reader to discover for themself: many of the instruments are specially made by us; none of the recordings were made in a garage: all of them are from "live" shows at a variety of locations: including: a block party, a wedding, a gallery called BauHouse, a warehouse club called Displace, a cabaret, & a state park in pennsylvania; 1 of the selections involves the playing of "Ringing Rocks"; the band's name changes with every playing; etc, etc..

Thanks again for taking so much time & care with reviewing the package that i sent you - it's nice to know that there's someone out there who appreciates how much time i put into my own projects enough to respond in kind when exposing the greater public to them.

Keep up the good work,


p.s. to quote a USER'S MANUAL 1 of my co-workers pointed out to me after reading your review: "Social: May respond to others in predictable fashion; communicates needs by gestures or pointing; plays "patty-cake" or plays imitatively with little interaction; or occupies self alone with "toys" few minutes." {my emphasis}


From: "Factsheet Five" #42 - May '91 - us@

Official BUSINESS, "6 Months of +/- 37 Public CAMUs" (Widemouth Tapes, PO Box 382 CR, Baltimore, MD 21203): "CAMU" stands for "Cue Activated Modular Units", discrete bits of sound experimentalism from which these improvisational songs are built up. At times they sound jazzy, at other times industrial, but mainly beyond categories. Comes with a text explaining what they're up to, sort of. (T/MG)


From: "File 13" #11 - Fall '91 - us@


"6 Months Of..." (cassette)


This cassette comes with an informative insert with a color Xerox cover, as well as some additional information about the ideas that were behind the performances. The cassette contains 90 minutes' worth of portions from a number of live performances, each of which was an improv session based upon certain "CAMU'S," or rules governing the performance. As might be expected, some of the material is quite good, and some of it doesn't quite hit the same heights. Horns squeak, voices mutter, percussion sprinkles about here & there, and various unidentifiable sounds make their presences known. I enjoyed a lot of the material, but the segments of speaking in between unfortunately slowed the pace down a bit. The recording quality is fairly high throughout. Fans of improv should probably check this out. --Mason Jones


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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.