The Tear Garden — The Secret Experiment
(Sub-Conscious Communications sub 033, 2007, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-01-01The Legendary Pink Dots and Skinny Puppy have been recording music on and off as The Tear Garden since 1986. The Secret Experiment is their eighth release, arriving five years after their previous Eye Spy with My Little Eye. The Tear Garden is a collaborative effort with Skinny Puppy typically providing the musical ideas and the LPDs the lyrics. You will not experience the harsh visceral electronics of Skinny Puppy nor will you hear the structured songs of the Dots. Instead The Tear Garden creates a hybrid that can be thought of as an upbeat Skinny Puppy or a darker LPD. Following Skinny Puppy's penchant for science fiction and horror movies, a number of the songs are in this genre. Perhaps the best song is the 15 minute album closer "A Gift of Knowledge" that combines movie and radio samples, sweeping chords, ambient electronics and rhythms, and Edward Ka-Spel's unique recitation. The album artwork looks like a worn out and dog-eared CD case that has been left in the lab and stained repeatedly with various substances. There are little demons crawling out of beakers and flasks reminding me of that disturbing animated Scion ad seen in movie theaters this summer with the Deviants slaughtering the Sheeple. Five years is too long to wait between Tear Garden releases, we can only hope that it won't take so long for their next one.
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more