Probably Paper Bag's hardest, most abstract and uncompromisingly assaultive album. Many people close to the band have confided to me that this is their favorite PB release.
Side One: Tehran Taxi Bomb Vinyl Walls Jonestown Punch Windows Compulsion to Fret Faith Opaque Side Two: S.S. McG Action! Thrills! Adventure! Their Fault Mr. Moto Takes a Ride Question of the Year Dachau Ground Zero
Recorded at Spinhead Studios, North Hollywood, CA. Produced by Paper Bag:, Phil Newman and Todd Jacobs.
Paper Bag plays improvised music, and nothing but improvised music. Which is, indeed, something to ponder. For when they go onstage, or into a studio or rehearsal hall, they deliberately and intentionally have no idea at all what sort of music will emerge. All their music is completely spontaneous and improvised, all of the time. This is an attitude that stops other musicians in their tracks, for after all, it's hard enough to get onstage and do a rehearsed set, but to get onstage and create your music as it happens, well...
In less competent hands, this type of spontaneous music could degenerate into aimless noodling. But not here. By dint of their considerable musicianship, arsenals of equipment, and near psychic communication, the music they produce has structure and direction. Unlike some improv outfits, who explore ideas in just a few genres, Paper Bag draws ideas from all over. Progressive guitar meanderings. Spoken word/poetry rants with a minimalist backgdrop. Industrial noise blasts. Good old rock and roll. Experimental tape loops with walls of percussion. Quiet jazz. Get the idea?
The members of this band are True Believers in the importance of improvised music. The band was formed with that goal in mind and has deviated not one whit from it since. In an era of plastic bands with plastic principles, it's heartening to see a band that genuinely believes in what they do. And, for those of you with suspicious minds (like I was at first), I've watched them rehearse, record albums and play live. They genuinely play improvised music all the time. Period.
Improvised music has a certain vitality and life that is absent on studio recordings with massive overdubs and dial-twiddling. (Don't be fooled by so-called "live" albums either, once the engineer gets done, it's anything but "live".) So, if you want to hear some fine sounds, direct from the musicians to you, give a listen to the music herein.
- Bob Morris
Comment: Bob Morris first reviewed us for Option Magazine when we sent them "85.5". He then reviewed "Ticket To Trauma" for Option as well. (I could swear he reviewed "Victimless Crime" but so far I have not ben able to find the review.) Bob then did an article on us for Option magazine. So when we decided we wanted liner notes for the 2nd LP, we decided he'd be a very logical choice. He was surprised at first- nobody was doing liner notes much in '87- but quickly got over his disorientation and did a bang up job, thank you Bob.
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