Exposé Online banner

Duck Fight Goose — Flow
(Miniless Recordings MINI018, 2010, CD)

Boojii — Reserved
(Modern Sky M-039, 2009, CD)

Muscle Snog — Mind Shop
(Maybe Mars 17.1, 2009, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Flow Cover artReserved Cover artMind Shop Cover art

These three bands hail from Shanghai, a city known for avant-garde music, and they certainly fit that categorization; they share members, several of whom have also worked in other prominent Shanghai experimental projects such as Island 33 (reviewed in #35), Asthma Writers Union, Hard Queen, and so on (analysis is complicated by their penchant for nicknames). Boojii, known in their native language as Boji Xiaosi (which might be translated "Small Wire Shock Wave," though they claim it really means nothing) has chosen an English name of similar sound but no meaning. Their music sets female vocals, sometimes pure and pleasant, sometimes modified and creepy, against a backing of guitar, keys, bass and drums that veer wildly from punk cabaret to chaotic noise. The music is full of surprises, as when a limping circus beat gives way to screeching wails, then suddenly drops to a serene interlude. They have a fondness for 3/4 time, serving up warped waltzes of catchy melodicism backed by distorted guitar. The lyrics are all in Chinese, but even reading the English titles ("Rabbit Germ," "Meow Sauce," "Man-Eating Duck," "Centipedes Occupy Chernobyl" and so on) you get a feel for the absurdist nature of the words.

Muscle Snog is much less song-oriented, with tracks of improvised noise (not always noisy, if you take my meaning) taking turns with chaotic, dissonant post-punk songs and twisted, trippy lullabys; there's also a truly strange version of "A Day in the Life" with sludgy guitar and interruptions for noise. At times, the recorded parts are chopped up into bits and spewed back in alternate form, though the majority of it could (and has been) presented live. It's a truly adventurous recording, and the most difficult listening of the three.

Duck Fight Goose has been getting rave reviews for their live shows for several years, but their long-anticipated debut CD is only a five-song EP. Well, better five wonderful tracks than nothing, I guess. The DFG configuration of players (all of whom are in at least one of the other bands) finds them in a mathy vein, though not hyper-complex, with repeating patterns on the guitars and minimal vocals. The vocals (male and female) are often shifted up an octave, providing a chipmunk-y sound that contrasts with the distorted guitars, filling a role that might otherwise be handled by keyboards. They deftly balance experimental touches with catchy, off-kilter hooks to produce a winning sound. Muscle Snog has gone inactive, but we can hope the other two acts continue with their unique versions of modern rock.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Duck Fight Goose, Boojii, Muscle Snog

More info
http://www.tenzenmen.com

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bone Cave Ballet - The Echo of Entropy – "Bone Cave Ballet" — what an evocative name. So many possible interpretations, all of them intriguing. The music itself has a similar quality, with lyrics that catch your imagination without lending...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues