Considering the haughty tone and air of condescension one regularly encounters in his writing it's surprising that author Nick Tosches would release such an inferior piece of work as For The Taking.

This recording is comprised of his own lugubrious recitation mated to risibly lame electronica clap-trap. Tosches' musical collaborator Rick Whitehurst provides a watery soup of drum machine pre-sets and jazz-lite synthesizer chords that would seem to indicate either utter disregard for, or inexperience with, acid-jazz or avant-dance vocabularies. This feels like the work of a “serious” musician. Or, perhaps a studio tech who assumes “This shit's easy!” and then spews forth a froth of the first quarter-baked ideas that come to mind. Whitehurst's backing tracks couldn't pass muster as soundtrack for a porn loop.

Now we come to Tosches' contributions. In his biographies and novels, this guy is a devastatingly affective author in terms of the topics he addresses, the extensive, detailed research he conducts and the powerful and often novel insights he derives. In this, one detects a knowledge of, and sympathy for an occult worldview. A vision peopled by ancient and arcane deities who he might believe in, or at least appreciate the human aspirations and sense of self-identity these archetypes represent. On For The Taking he reads passages that evoke or invoke these deities, at times speaking in their behalf; a promising concept. But his delivery is consistently dreary and uninspiring, lacking drama or character. It simply fails to bring these lines to life, to illuminate and animate the characters, to even function as fervent prayer from priest to the Adored. If I were Marduk or Ba-Al or Hades or Zeus I sure wouldn't be stirring off my lapis lazuli throne on account of these dead-ass incantations! When you add Tosches' delivery to the embarrassing musical backdrop you discover William Shatner's finally got competition.

Of course anyone has the right to make any sort of art they choose and certainly that art should only be judged on its own merit and not forced into the context of every other facet of the artist's life and creative output but still, it's weird that someone as judgmental as Tosches didn't exercise more stringent quality control. [57 Records Co.]

-Howard W.


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  1. Rick Whitehurst says:

    Honestly, I love this review.... I really do. Every time I link someone to it I sell a cd. It is really an honest and well written piece save for the poor spelling. Also added the word "risibly" to my vocabulary at age 50. Well done. We have had reviews on both sides of the fence but I do love the bad ones... So artistically penned.

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