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Doctor Bob: Dark Times

If you thought that Cardboard Amanda's 2006 debut was one of the strangest releases that you heard all year, the early part of 2007 brings us Dark Times from the equally bizarre Doctor Bob. The duo behind Doctor Bob is Bob Marsh on voice, electronics, and cello, and David Michalak on lap steel guitar. These two began working on the ideas begind this album back in 2005, and nearly two years later have it all complete, the end result being Dark Times, a dark, avant-garde smattering of offbeat sounds, dissonant textures, and uncanny noise. Much of what you will hear on this CD would be hard pressed to be called music, and often it's a little harsh on the ears, but there's something strangely fascinating about all this cacophany and absurdity. Marsh uses his voice in many ways, none of which fall into the category of actual singing, more in the line of electronic groans, mumbles, and yowls, while his haunting cello is soaked in electronic effects giving it an eerie tone and timbre. On top of all that, Michalak's lap pedal steel guitar moans and shrieks the most unmelodic sounds ever heard, teaming up with Marsh's chilling vocalizations on the creepy "Opera-ation". The title track is a pretty spooky number as well, and could easily pass for a sountrack to a haunted house movie, with Marsh playing the part of the unwanted ghost amidst all sorts of sonic mystery. For pure noise & dissonance, try "Chunk-A-Shred" and "Codex # 4", where the two choke every bit of aggression out of their cello & lap steel, and if space rock is your thing, the more ambient "Dream Scheme" and "Stream of Life Parts 1 & 2" sound like some weird hybrid of Captain Beefheart and Zeit era Tangering Dream.

I'll not admit to being a fan of this sort of non-melodic, avant-garde weirdness, but in the end Dark Times has somewhat of a charm to it. What that charm is based on is anybody's guess, but if you are looking for something completely off the beaten path, take a warped little ride with Doctor Bob...just don't forget to watch out for the rubber gloves.

Track Listing

  1. Dark Times
  2. They're Coming
  3. Opera-ation
  4. Codex #4
  5. Reform Crossing
  6. Sound From the Distance
  7. Chunk-A-Shred
  8. Dream Scheme
  9. Abandoned Lighthouse
  10. Stream of Life Parts 1 & 2
  11. Lost Transmission

Added: February 6th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Edge Tone Records
Hits: 4193
Language: english

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