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Antique Seeking Nuns — Mild Profundities (An Initial Bursting)
(Bandcamp no#, 2001, CDEP)

Antique Seeking Nuns — Double Egg with Chips and Beans (and a Tea)
(Bandcamp no#, 2006, CDEP)

Antique Seeking Nuns — Careful! It's Tepid
(Bandcamp no#, 2009, CDEP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Mild Profundities (An Initial Bursting) Cover artDouble Egg with Chips and Beans (and a Tea) Cover artCareful! It's Tepid Cover art

Antique Seeking Nuns has, for the better part of a decade been a joint side-project started by guitarist Joff Winks and keyboardist Matt Baber (later joined by drummer Paul Mallyon and bassist Brad Waissman on the second and third EPs) to explore the more challenging and ambitious side of their musical interests, while earning their bread and butter via more commercially viable work in the Joff Winks Band, Nunbient, and other endeavors. Hence, for seven years work they have only these three EPs to show, but some mighty fine musical moments are contained herein. It doesn’t take more than a couple minutes into “It’s Pissing, Don?” the opening cut on Mild Profundities, for a listener to recognize that there is a strong Zappa influence in their arrangements, yet the compositions and subtle humor therein have a distinctly British flavor, more in line with the Canterbury artists like Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Hatfield, and even Anthony Phillips. Their ideas are patently original while still stroking that progressive ideal: unmistakably innovative while remaining totally listenable.

With Double Egg we have the band newly expanded to a four-piece, so the result comes off more like a working band than a basement project built up through overdubs, though its four tracks are still rather off-kilter and twisted. Especially so with the instrumental closer “Shatner’s Bassoon” where time sigs seem to change every other measure, and blistering guitar solos burn through the confusion. Uncle Frank would be proud. Which brings us to the Nuns' latest work Careful! It’s Tepid which concludes their triple-EP cycle (and if one is to believe the accompanying promo literature, this will be the Nuns final release as they intend to morph into a new project called Sanguine Hum). Here we are definitely back in the more melodic and avant-garde territory of the first EP, more emphasis on instrumental work, but with tighter arrangements due to the participation of a full band. “The Bearded Bag Lady” and its follow-on “Ointment for Flies” are among the two finest pieces across all three EPs. All three of these are definitely worthy of investigation, but the first and the third are this reviewer’s favorites.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2001 releases, 2006 releases, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Matt Baber, Antique Seeking Nuns

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