Eugene Chadbourne is an American original: consummate improviser, rockabilly jazz guitarist, genre crosser, bug enthusiast, certifiable madman. This disc is a worthy addition to his oeuvre, as it features some notable collaborators: Ellery Eskelin, Gino Robair, and others. As usual, it is full of irony and all over the stylistic map. As usual, it is full of great music.
Chadbourne and Eskelin have their best moment on the opening "Nymphialiadae," on which they spin loose-limbed lines rapidly over a rhythmically even base provided by bass guitarist Brian Ritchie. But without a break the rhythmic bottom drops out and we're floating into "Danadiae," which is full of fright-night effects. The metal pastiches (which Chadbourne leads us to expect with a liner note about "the good old days of dropping acid and listening to the Moody Blues") come on "Mexican Yellow," "Clodius Parnassus," and the feedback-laden "Hesperidae." Also "Ithomia-Like Metal Mark," but that one seems to owe just as much to Ascension and New York Eye and Ear Control.
We also have rockabilly and bluegrass: "Buckeye," "Lacewing Invasion of Nova Scotia," and "Mexican Yellow/Tick Talk Flea Mart." Plus some nifty shifting of tonal centers with oboeist Carrie Shull on "Reward."
So it's another grand Chadbourne circus. Step right up.
Eugene Chadbourne, ac g, el g, bjo, dobro; Ashley Adams, b; Ellery Eskelin, ts; Lyn Johnston, contrabass cl; Jeff Kaiser, tpt, euphonium; Carla Kihlstedt, vln; Rob Mallard, ts, flt; Jacques Palinckx, el g; Dan Plonsey, ts, as, ss, Bb cl, Eb cl, stunt ob; Garth Powell, perc; Brian Ritchie, ac b g, misc. instrs.; Gino Robair, perc; Carrie Shull, ob; Lukas Simonis, el g; Jeff Sipes, perc; Leonid Soybelman, amplified classical g.
Track listing: Nymphialiadae / Danadiae / Mexican Yellow / Buckeye / Clodius Parnassus / Long Dash Skipper / Tick Talk Flea Mart / Lacewing Invasion of Nova Scotia / Reward / Paris Swallowtail / Danadiae / Hesperidae / Papilonidae / Ithomia-Like Metal Mark / Mexican Yellow/Tick Talk Flea Mart.