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Krakow, Jesse: Oceans in the Sun

This thing arrived on a CDR in a cardboard slipcase with two full pages of hand-scrawled notes on lined yellow paper, on which Jesse Krakow - bassist in the Ron Anderson-led outfit PAK - explained how he recorded this extremely lo-fi, extremely eclectic platter of 31 songs on a home four-track recorder. Some critics, apparently, have compared the music on Oceans in the Sun to the output of Half Japanese, early Ween, Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, Syd Barrett and even the B-52's. OK, maybe, whatever.

Practically every song here seems to fade out and into another, and no two songs sound exactly the same. Some only have one lyric line, while others go on for extended paragraphs. During the course of this 42-minute disc, Krakow invokes bizarre vocals and distorted guitars on "Can't Stop Thinking," twists what could be left-for-dead jingles on "Good Warm Friends," strikes up the band with what sounds like an Eighties-era Casio and drum machine on "Bacon Grapefruit," mimics old-school arcade game sound effects on "Person With a Hand," samples what could be a grandfather clock on "I Respect U," imitates the Teletubby with the deeper voice on "Only You Can Have Friends" and goes on a melancholic rant against attending high school on "Least High." All of these are tolerable, kooky, amusing and even fanciful explorations of one man's mind and his pursuit of art. But connoisseurs of fine music - most prog-heads, in other words - may find "Implementation of the Fire Groove" and "Camel Donkey Cry" inexcusable, as Krakow's voices begins to crack and then takes on excruciatingly grating and out-of-tune dimensions.

(It's worth noting, right about here, that Krakow's musical pedigree should not be questioned, as he is also involved in several other projects, including Fast 'N' Bulbous, a seven-piece big band that plays Captain Beefheart songs and has a deal with respected prog label Cuneiform Records.)

A handful of tracks on Oceans in the Sun actually resemble songs, such as "Forgets How to Fly," with its chronic beat and half-spoken/half-sung vocals. But why, exactly, anyone would want to sit through all 31 compositions on this record - at least in one session - is beyond me. That's the beauty of music, I guess. There's something for everyone. (In fact, as disturbing as this record may be in its own way, I want to hear it again. Right now.)

Track Listing:
1) Tree For Me
2) Can't Stop Thinking
3) Good Warm Friends
4) Make It Say Hello
5) Bacon Grapefruit
6) Implementation of the Fire Groove
7) Fantasy Feather
8) Take Me Down to the River Tonight
9) Missed a Boogie
10) Camel Donkey Cry
11) Internet Dating Experience
12) Circa Never
13) Forgets How to Fly
14) All That You Know Is More Than What You Are
15) It's Saturday Afternoon
16) Person With A Hand
17) Factoid Man
18) I Respect U
19) Guy You Know
20) Done With Hyphens
21) Power Feeling
22) Only You Can Have Friends
23) Remember the Good Times
24) The 1st Grader
25) Gotsa Groove
26) Want To Make Fun
27) Factory of Coolness
28) Least High
29) Deserve Something Better
30) Oceans in the Sun
31) Faces of Fun

Added: April 6th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Public Eyesore Records
Hits: 3084
Language: english

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