David Fiuczynski: Black Cherry Acid Lab (2002)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Calling all Screaming Headless Torsos fans! Report here for an interim dose of the in-your-face, funkingly dissonant energy that they're all about. But remember-this isn't your father's Torsos! It's their leader, Dave Fiuczynski, capitalizing on the freedom that comes with helming a do-it-yourself label, Fuzelicious Morsels, by unleashing the furiously freakish fruits of his Black Cherry Acid Laboratory experiments of 1996-1998 on the world of consumers who'll appreciate this document of an interestingly twisted side road journeyed by his merry band of like-minded accomplices.
Leading the charge is vocalist/rapper Ahmed Best , who found Fuze while in New York, doing Stomp, prior to achieving his allotted fifteen as Star Wars' eboniccomical JarJar Binks . Those familiar with Torso Dean Bowman 's particular brand of powerhouse singing, burly rapping/screaming/talking, and up and down vocal narratives and effects, should equally appreciate what Ahmed brings to this project. Fans should also note that Fuze has been doing Torsos dates recently with Bowman and another killer vocalist named Freedom Bremner , who like Best, throws down hard in a manner similar to, yet different from, Dean. Not surprising that Fuze pulls these guys out of New York's stage scene, given the healthy doses of vivid urgency and just plain energy they bring to his thing. Or maybe it's the other way 'round, these thespian singers seeking out an established, adventurous, bold idea man to assist in outletting all that creative, dramatic- theatrical even-juice. Patrice Blanchard, who has gigged with the Torsos for the last couple of years, is on bass for the whole program, as is SHT skinbasher Gene Lake , for four of the nine songs. Tobias Ralph , who gigs with Dave's Kif project and Defunkt (among others) and the Pharcyde's Adrian Harpham very capably contribute to the rest on drums.
This stuff is pretty rockin' in the same way as the current crop of rap/rock crossovers. And of course, there's ridiculous six-string ripping for fans of Fuze's previous work-it just comes in shorter bursts. Dig the unison guitar-sax lines with Mark Shim on "Llessurgy" and the Fuze-patented out-of-in-phase dual guitar work, preceding strings-lifted-off-the-fretboard gymnastics, on "Radio Is the Enemy". This song, evidently, is based on George Russell's Song 1A, a reference completely shrouded in context of smart aleck, dare I say it, rap-metal -funk. This song's lyrics, rapped in unison by Best and Fuze, make the disc worth its economical price, and precede Pat Metheny's interenet-abetted diatribe by at least a couple of years, to wit: "Radio's the enemy/ playin' Kenny G/ and not musically/ very friendly; Forcin' on you and me/ the crap that's spawned/ by and for the man/ with the short or no attention span;The plan of this brave clan/ Big budgets for musical midgets who twist and fidget/ and think it's ok/ to play the tired shit on radio today!" Let's add that topic to the AAJ Discussion Forums, shall we?
We also get what begins like a straight up punk song, called "Bollocks", which comes complete with Fuze chanting some imposing incantations in Latin. This one's nicely interrupted by a funk vamp, over which Best shows some idiosyncratic rap moves, and under which Fuze waxes Jimi-ly rhapsodic. It's followed up later in the program by "Scrapecheese", another straight up punk song interrupted only by Fuze's microtonally rocking guitar solo. "Bad Boy" is Blanchard's opportunity to shine, swaying steady with the funk while the boss-man layers on dissonant coats of rhythm guitar. Everyone gets to excel here - first Shim's surprisingly anomalous honking funk, then Fuze's unexpectedly conventional blues-rock squall with Lake crashing, then percolating out of the mix to show why he's one of the world's most in demand funk-fusionists.
"Shafta" combines a rock riff verse with a drum'n'bass refrain, including Blanchard's processed swallowed bass, and includes Fuze rapping lyrics that somehow combine investigative reporting with WTO-protest-inspired political invective in an entertaining way. "I wanna be unlike Mike!"-indeed. Even Bowman logs in for a visit, supplementing Best for a bit of interval-leaping dual vocalizing and simultaneous rapping on the careening "Golden Rule". Fuze shows us his way with acid microtonal fretless motifs on the solo breakdown, which is nicely revitalized back to the song's original slap'n'pop rockingness, but still includes that ever-present, yet small, signature dose of dissonance.
The fact that this one is even available tells us that Fuze remains unswerving in his commitment to both vocal and instrumental projects as outlets for his considerable reservoir of creative influences and intensities. It also helps make the case for indie-label necessity and invention, which you can help support by clicking at torsos.com .
Track Listing: 1. Step on My Shoes, 2. Llessurgy, 3. Radio is the Enemy (Song 1A), 4. Bollocks, 5.Bad Boy, 6. Shafta, 7. Scrapecheese, 8. Golden Rule, 9. Step on My Shoes B
Personnel: David Fiuczynski; guitar, vocals (on 3, 4 and 6), Ahmed Best, vocals and raps (1,2,4,5,7,8,9), Dean Bowman-vocals(8), Sophie Ramos -vocals(6), Patrice Blanchard-electric bass, Mark Shim-sax (1,2,5,9), Gene lake-drums (1,2,5,9), Tobias Ralph-drums(4,6,7), Adrian Harpham-drums (3,8)
Record Label: FuzeLicious Morsels