The Red Krayola CD review by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
The Red Krayola CD review by Luc Rodgers
Jul 16, 2008, 01:15


THE RED KRAYOLA Fingerpointing CD

Reading reviews of Red Krayola records are always a joy. There are a few different approaches:

1. The unfamiliar writer with the Mayo Thompson (front man/freaker-outer-extraordinaire) School of Sound Design in that they simply say, “What the fuck is this?”

2. The schooled psych-archivist who can place each song to a certain mood that the Thomp was in at the time, but in the end actually know even less than the previous punk.

3. The fakers who act like they know what the Red Krayola are all about and blabber on and on about how, “…because of the Krayola's (insert album title here), Pere Ubu could really find an audience later in a place as remote as Cleveland, Ohio.”

This writer falls in none of these categories. I am more of the, “I bought the Coconut Hotel reissue when I was nineteen and was completely dumbfounded and intrigued. And then I ignored them, for the most part.” I admit to not listening to them religiously, though their impact on no wave and general avant-garde over the years is inescapable. But it also gives me semi-seasoned ears and the reader's undying trust in that you already know we're in the same boat.

Fingerpointing collects unreleased stuff (some songs and some un-songs) brought together onto one long track and mixed by pop-guru Jim O'Rourke. This could really go either way, so let me hold your hand…

Beginning Fingerpointing is an almost Bjork-like beat riding atop a Sleepytime Gorilla Museum trash rhythm section haunting and lurching into what is to become your next 30 minutes of, some might say, freedom. It is not music to sit and ponder, to figure out…it is rather intricate weavings of ideas meant to guide your thoughts into their confusion, their hell. Every once in a while a sound will come through, whether it is a wah-wah or a simple electronic beat, that can be dug and recognized. Mind you, it won't last long. Additions upon additions disorient and possibly sicken the listener and luckily this is apparent from the get-go; you will know if you are to make it through the album within two minutes of putting it on. They don't want to waste your time, per se, just make you want to waste your time. This is where the freedom comes in.

The songs hide behind intermittent, numbered freakouts (i.e. “Freakout 0,” “Freakout 1,” et al.) and then leap forth costumed in something completely unexpected. The parallel lines run through each song, though, so nothing is completely bewildering; that is to say if you are still listening you already know to expect something unexpected. (The vernacular used to describe a Red Krayola record is just as counter-intuitive and self-defeating as the music itself.) The entire record is a pattern in a way with little change throughout. (Here we go again…) As complex as it is, the simplicity of it all is what shines through and what the listener remembers, for better or worse, and it is this intrigue that I hold on to so dearly.

The thing about The Red Krayola is, for lack of a better term, you either love them or you hate them, but the fact remains that they need to be listened to for what they are, and that is singular. They are not something that can be easily described (maybe that's how they want it) but merely accepted…and not even that's true the majority of the time.

Speaking of time, I'm sorry for wasting yours to eventually tell you nothing. Or maybe that's my art. [Drag City]

-Luc Rodgers


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