Hampton Grease Band — Music to Eat
(Columbia Shotput C2K 67483, 1971/1996, 2`CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1996-08-01
The "Hampton," of course, refers to the venerable Bruce Hampton, best known for his 90s rock / jazz / funk outfit, the Aquarium Rescue Unit. But back in the early 70s, Hampton was the frontman in an entirely different sort of group. Reported at the time of its release in 1971 as the second-worst selling album in Columbia's history (only a yoga record did worse sales-wise), this album is now a classic. And what a classic it is! Hampton is joined by two gifted guitarists, Glenn Phillips and Harold Kelling, who trade snakelike off-kilter guitar lines reminiscent of the best of Captain Beefheart's Magic Band. Indeed, this album often sounds like the great jamming album Beefheart never made, an unholy cross between the open-ended Mirror Man and the tightly constructed Trout Mask Replica. Three of the seven tracks are in the 20-minute range (it's a double CD), and all of the tracks demonstrate a remarkable ability to shift endlessly into new adventurous directions. Best is the 20-minute opener, "Halifax," which has no fewer than three mind-bending guitar jams, interrupted by whimsical vocals (Hampton even sounds a bit like Beefheart here), with a fair share of complex intertwining guitar passages. In fact, nearly all of the tracks keep up this same level of intensity, making for a truly unbelievable listening experience.
A bona-fide lost classic, this album gets my top rating. It has finally been reissued on Columbia (no doubt due to Hampton's current cult status), and deserves a listen by any Beefheart fan, or anyone who favors extended, complex compositions in the truly bizarre mode.
Related artist(s): Hampton Grease Band
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Schicke Führs Fröhling (SFF) - The Collected Works of Schicke Führs Fröhling – During their brief yet productive career from 1976 to 1978, the trio of Ede Schicke (drums), Gerd Führs (keys), and Heinz Fröhling (guitar, Mellotron) produced three outstanding albums on... (1994) » Read more