On Black Sabbath (Google translated):
Rarely an artist so poorly equipped technically and so unimaginative has had such a great influence on subsequent generations…
Black Sabbath were a constant assault on the cultured tradition of Western civilization, and a continued exaltation of barbarism and primitivism. They were hated by almost everyone: by the hippies (of which they represented the exact opposite moral), by the rockers (who were horrified by their technical inadequacy), by the singer-songwriters (who wrote much more meaningful lyrics). But the average teenager did not have any culture or the vocation to judge Black Sabbath music and, all things considered, their harmonic simplicity represented a form of collective appeal much easier to understand than the King Crimson symphonic poems or the Pink Floyd psychedelic scores. Black Sabbath fans were dirty and bad, but actually they were listening to Black Sabbath for the same reason that the previous generation of clean and good teenagers had listened to The Beatles: their music was the easiest to hear. Listening to their music was a simple act of collective ritualism that required no culture and no intelligence. But, unlike the Beatles’ fans (who at most became light music singers), the teenagers who identified themselves with the “ease” of Black Sabbath music were just those who would have formed rock music bands: the Black Sabbath were spreading an alien virus, that of heavy metal.
On Kanye West:
[In 2018] he released “Lift Yourself” that has perhaps his best lyrics ever: Poopy-di scoop / Scoop-diddy-whoop / Whoop-di-scoop-di-poop.
The album Ye… wasn’t even an album: at 23 minutes, it was just an EP. The songs are clumsy and goofy. The best one is “Ghost Town,” because it takes the melody from Shirley Ann Lee’s “Someday,” the organ from Vanilla Fudge’s “Take Me For A Little While,” and because of guest female vocalist Danielle Balbuena, aka 070 Shake. (The only reason that i mention this song is that, if i don’t mention any song, his fans will accuse me of not having listened to the album, but i refuse to publicize any other song).
On David Bowie:
David Bowie turned marketing into the essence of his art. All great phenomena of popular music, from Elvis Presley to the Beatles, had been, first and foremost, marketing phenomena (just like Coca Cola and Barbie before them); however, Bowie turned that into an art of its own…
Bowie was a protagonist of his times, although a poor musician: to say that Bowie is a musician is like saying that Nero was a harp player (a fact that is technically true, but misleading). Bowie embodies the quintessence of artificial art, raises futility to paradigm, focuses on the phenomenon rather than the content, makes irrelevant the relevant, and, thus, is the epitome of everything that went wrong with rock music…
Surprisingly, he resurrected his career in the 1990s with a trio of experimental works that suddenly showed he had become a musician, not just the pretense of being a musician.
On Frank Zappa:
The supreme genius of the counterculture of the 1960s was the Los Angeles composer, arranger, freak and jester Frank Zappa…
Zappa co-invented the concept album… the rock opera, progressive-rock. He was the first rock musician to consciously use the studio as an instrument… And he made no distinction between tv commercials, doo-wop, music-hall, classical ballets, jazz improvisation or dissonant music. A living musical encyclopedia, Zappa managed to excel in all of these genres…
For better and for worse, his musical persona includes an odd aspect: a passion for satirical lyrics. He always seemed more comfortable wearing the clothes of the clown than rewriting the history of music. He always seemed to think of satire as his first and main art, and music as a sort of soundtrack to it…
His favorite victim was hypocrisy, regardless of how it appears in society. His natural targets were televangelists, corporations, politicians, but also ordinary people, whether “dancing fools”, “catholic girls” or “jewish princesses”. He showed no mercy for the human species, and relentlessly exposed its vices and perversion. He made fun of virtually every race, people, profession, hobby, habit, job, ideology, religion, etc. on this planet. Most of his repertory is “political”, but without actually being militant. Zappa was not a protester or an activist. He was merely a man who used his brain. It turned out that, in one of nature’s most bizarre accidents, Zappa the satirical genius shared the same brain with Zappa the musical genius.
The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band were one of the greatest groups in the history of rock music, despite the fact that they were always essentially a schoolboy joke…
[Their albums] drew from every genre that came to hand, but in particular from everything that was “kitsch”, running the gamut from operetta to doo-wop, from TV commercials to marching bands, from Broadway showtunes to big-band swing, from folk ballads to patriotic choruses; and employing a stunning variety of instruments and vocal registers. Their endeavor was, in fact, very similar to the post-modernist sabotage carried out in California by Frank Zappa. Miraculously, such a unhortodox cauldron of musical ingredients coalesced in songs that were concise and catchy.
German chanteuse Nico, who sang with the Velvet Underground in New York before returning to Europe, invented a style of singing that has little to do with rock music, a style that belongs to no particular place and no particular time, a style that may as well be medieval or romantic, Indian or Middle-eastern, a style that is mainly “enunciation”. a style that sounds by turns like Greek chorus, Shakespearian monologue, Schubert-ian lied, Gregorian psalm, Elizabethan song, exotic chant. Her lugubrious litanies (which invented gothic rock more by accident than by design) sway between the lament of a buried alive and the stately invocation of a priestess. The staging of these funereal cries quotes from Goethe’s metaphysical allegory Faust, from Wedekind’s expressionist drama Lulu, from Brecht’s epic theatre, from French noir cinema, from Dali’s surreal paintings. She straddled the line between aristocratic and prostitute with the elegance of a ghost…
Nico’s cadaveric, petrified voice wandered through the labyrinth of a wasted mind, scouring inner landscapes made of nightmares, visions and nameless shadows for the ultimate meaning. Or, better, Nico lived on another planet, and was the Homer who sang about the apocalypse of planet Earth, as viewed from up above.
Searching for a middle point between post-nuclear psychedelia and psycho-ambient “musique concrete”, German group Faust coined one of the most powerful, dramatic and eccentric languages in modern music…
Technically, the ensemble’s music pushed to the extreme an aesthetics of darkness, ugliness, fear, chaos, irrational that stemmed from expressionism, surrealism, theater of the absurd, Brecht/Weill’s cabaret, myth of the supermensch, Wagner-ain melodrama, musique concrete and abstract painting, all fused in a formal system that was as much metaphysical as grotesque. Influenced by Frank Zappa’s collages, these teutonic vampires injected angst, like burning lava, into a sound that was deliberately fastidious, repulsive, incoherent. Demented, demonic, paranoid, acid and violent, their compositions constitute a puzzle of sonic boutades and hermetic puns…
On The Ramones:
The new-wave band that was going to have the greatest impact worldwide was the most unlikely one: the Ramones, who simply played inept rock’n’roll at supersonic speed. Their frenzy was not exactly intellectual, and certainly had no artistic ambition, but was exactly what legions of frustrated kids had been waiting for. Inspired by New York Dolls and Dictators, Ramones (1976), a rapid-fire collection of brief songs that were intentionally demented and clownish, invented the most significant genre of the last quarter century of the 20th century… Rocket To Russia (1977), their masterpiece, was the ultimate item of “junk art”: a ridiculous catalog of rockabilly, surf music, Mersey-beat and bubblegum music, but charged with the violence of the slums.
On Trotsky Icepick (Google translated):
Johansen and Matare… had the idea of continuing to practice changing the name of the [band] from time to time, but always keeping the same title [for] the record. In 1986 [they] released another <em>Poison Summer</em>… credited this time to Trotsky Icepick… The idea of changing the name of the [band] each year was legally inconvenient, [and] Trotsky Icepick resigned themselves to respect the conventions of the civil world and began to record eccentric and comic realism discs on an annual basis, unfortunately without songs that could live [on their own].
On Muslimgauze (Google translated):
Muslimgauze, an “open” ensemble directed by Bryan Jones, is part of the school of post-psychedelic suites, influenced by environmental music and ethnic music… [His first album] was followed by more than 140 albums in 18 years… Jones has tried all the tricks of the British underground to self-build a cult of personality (limited and numbered printings and other tricks like that).
…it is very likely that Jones has established a record that is hard to match: only one piece is saved from his production, and, given the bulk, it is perhaps the lowest percentage of quality in the whole history of music (and one of the biggest rock music scams).
…Most likely, none [of his albums] is worth listening to.
On Whitehouse (Google translated):
The starting idea [of Whitehouse] was not entirely obvious: two analog synthesizers… and the psychotic song of Bennett, to compose extremely abrasive electronic and vocal music and with overtones infernal… In that genre, however, the trio recorded about twenty albums between 1980 and 1985… without showing the slightest mastery of means and the slightest fantasy…
You will have to wait until the 90s, at the four mini-suites of Thank You For Your Lucky Stars… to listen to real music from them.
On Foetus (partly Google translated):
Bard of the most reckless nihilism, quintessential prophet of “trash” as a form of art, Foetus promoted a repulsive hyper-punk persona that served well to frame his musical journey. Morbidly attracted to the most repulsive manifestations of human nature, both physical ones (vomit, excrements, sperm) and psychological ones (torture, sadism, homicide), Foetus ripped apart in a paroxysm of destruction any residual moral value…
Glorifying anal rape, Satanism and the Holocaust, Foetus easily demolishes a few thousand years of conventions of civil life. With this work of extreme desecration Foetus goes far beyond the traditional agit-prop cabaret, even in its more unglued versions (Zappa, Fugs). The raw and vulgar nihilistic aesthetics of punk finds in him the true messiah…
German trio Die Todliche Doris, who debuted with an album titled ” ” (1982), were not terribly interested in making or playing music, although they did produce something approaching a dissonant mixture of prog-rock, free-jazz, disco-music and industrial noise with a punk nihilist stance. Their real mission rested with Dada’s absurdist/provocative and John Cage’s aleatory/gestural strategies. For example, Unser Debut (1984) and Sechs (1986) contained tracks of the same length: they were supposed to be played at the same time on two turntables in order to obtain the real album, the “invisible LP”…
On GG Allin (Google translated):
…at the head of the Scumfucks, obsessed with sodomy and excrement, Allin took to indulge in the most repugnant images that can be built around those themes, completely forgetting the music… In this period, Allin’s mind was completely devastated by alcohol and drugs, and the result can be heard in the tapes Suicide Sessions and Anti-Social Personality Behavior, circulated among a few close friends. Allin seemed definitely lost to the cause of rock and roll, and ended up in prison several times.
…Every time they put him back in freedom, Allin would appear again on the most violent, brutal and disdainful scenes… His nihilistic proclamations continued to persecute the right-minded… [One album] contains Nazi-macho-racist proclamations… [and another album] indulges in the murderous fantasies of serial killers…
Allin… died [in 1993] in the bathroom (presumably overdose), thirty-six. He had just completed another of his mutilation shows / rituals (complete with cuts to the face and defecation on stage), proving his unopposed supremacy of punk extremist.
…Allin is the only musician who could record a video in which he bursts into an elementary class and, after shattering different objects in his mouth, having broken several bottles on his head and having slashed his chest with a can, attacks a child and is beaten to blood by those present.
Allin was really the animal he claimed to be. It was not just on stage, it was in everyday life. Everything his songs talked about was autobiographical. Infinite anecdotes tell stories far more awkward than those described by his songs (as when he had to be hospitalized urgently because he had a throat clogged with sperm, or when he violated and then [ate] the carcass of an animal). He really hated everyone, including himself. He had every reason.
It was the most futile sacrifice of rock music.
On Half Japanese (mostly Google translated):
Formed in 1975 in Michigan by the brothers Jad and David Fair, the Half Japanese were born in the name of musical illiteracy: all members were forbidden to learn how to play their instrument… The sound… is absolutely uncoordinated, played in the name of the most absurd Dadaism… The pieces are nothing more than schizoid abstracts, in which they can perfectly merge heavy metal edging and free jazz solos. “Du Du Du Du Du” (seven minutes) is [nothing] but a whistle to sound: it’s Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (nothing much happens).
…[On Our Solar System] each song is played by a different line-up, from the standard rock trio up to small chamber ensembles. The music is still fragmented and casually played, but shows progress towards mental sanity…
…Sing No Evil… is infinitely more musical than previous ones, played by 13 professional musicians and boasting real melodies, rhythms and arrangements.
…Best from a strictly musical point of view is Best Wishes… his instrumental masterpiece, with 42 electronic aphorisms that span all the musical knowledge from minimalism to industrial, from jazz to environment… In the immense… collection of timbres, rhythms and harmonic finds there is not only one complete piece, but there is a philosophy of making music with few means and no ambition, which is then the ultimate meaning of all the art of Fair.
…Superfine is the third collaboration between Jad Fair and Jason Willett, but Fair is only the singer for Willett’s songs. And it’s a 155-song collection. But quantity does not mean quality: it is one of the worst ever assembled.
On R.E.M. (Google translated):
R.E.M. …have not revolutionized anything in the history of rock, but have established themselves as the highest authors (in the artistic / intellectual sense) of the modern ballad form, managing to preserve a standard over the years of very high quality… R.E.M. have never represented anything special from a sociological point of view (their audience has always been predominantly that of university students and of young urban professionals), nor have they created a genre that has defined an era. The history of rock without the Ramones would not be the same, while the history of rock without R.E.M. would be the same. But R.E.M. remained on the crest of the wave, indifferent to the turmoil that tore the great ocean of rock music.
…Considered by many to be the masterpiece of R.E.M., [Automatic for the People] is more like a senile and self-indulgent record, which is more like a sophisticated “pop” work than an innovative “rock” work.
Monster manages to pull the group out of those sentimental and baroque shifting sands with a suddenly loud and piercing sound… it’s their best record of the …decade. It is not a compliment, it is a fact.
On LMNOP (Google translated):
Stephen Fievet… is a solitary pop singer-songwriter from Georgia, who has produced albums attributed to LMNOP since 1982, and one of the most bizarre characters in independent music, also the owner of the underground magazine Baby Sue. An avenger of the “lo-fi pop” trend, Fievet is still the author of some of the most memorable melodies of the ’80s.
…in the meantime in his magazine Fievet writes articles with crazy titles like “A parent’s guide to satanic cult ritual abuse” and poems with absurd verses like “I like tiny cupcakes / I do not like tiny cupcakes”…
On Dogbowl (Google translated):
…[in Tit, Stephen Tunney aka Dogbowl] was able to experiment… [with] the most disheveled arrangements, but above all to show off one of the most prolific and brilliant melodic talents in the history of rock, on par with the Kinks and [early] Pink Floyd. In addition, the Dogbowl compositions have a madly childish, innocently apocryphal [feel]. The “scenes” of this tragicomic work are twenty-two, and there are twenty-two harmonic masterpieces, masterpieces of composition, arrangement, performance. These songs are played, however, without the slightest virtuosity, in the simplest and most linear way possible; what makes them brilliant is the lunatic unfolding, the “open” scheme, the endless tiny diversions; as well as, of course, the surreal texts to which they are coupled… Compared to the very humble means used, the disc is a triumph of imagination, a fantastic flight of fantasy, a milestone of the entire hippie civilization.
The second album, Cyclops Nuclear Submarine Captain…, is even more brilliant. Not only his melodic talent touches here vertices that have few rivals in the history of rock, but the arrangements, though always primitive and naive, are delightfully paradoxical. The jazzy touch, the guitar beaters, the demode organs, the “home” cadences harmonize perfectly with the persuasive baritone of Dogbowl. The goal of his music is the comic, pure and simple, an end in itself. And the lyrics are therefore the most fun you can conceive. The music is largely little more than nice nursery rhymes for children. Calling them “novelty” is to give them a compliment.
…Dogbowl has put together a repertoire of demented songs that few others can boast. But, even more, he has set them in an imaginary world that is a great flight of fantasy; a world in which (musically and narratively) the most disconcerting events can occur with the utmost naturalness. Life in your world is as simple as possible, although it is as difficult as possible. In his big circus they practice the most tender and daring clowns, daring and unlucky. And the music faithfully reflects the happy contradiction of that universe. In this sense Dogbowl has also re-invented, re-defined, as a metaphor for a collective subconscious, a global dream, the musical novelty, or the farce in rock, genre of which aspires to the title of the greatest modern master.
On Talk Talk (Google translated):
Talk Talk experienced one of the most schizophrenic careers in rock history. They established themselves in the days of synth-pop with harmless dance songs, but later developed a trance music among the most original of their time, which preceded the revival of environmental music.
…The Party’s Over [is] not much different from those of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode, under the banner of a dance-music so hopelessly romantic as frivolous…
…In all the songs [of Spirit of Eden] there are innumerable references to the latest electronic and free jazz. Altogether 17 musicians alternate on the disc, including oboe, clarinet, harmonium, dobro, bassoon, violin, horn… Their songs are no longer songs, they are still lifes. The transformation of the group could not have been more radical.
The idea anticipated the similar one of the American “slo-core”, but in Great Britain they were all looking for the new Duran Duran, not the future Codeine.