I cannot tell you that I understand the role of music in our society today. Like many things (including consumer goods), music plays the role of a mild distraction. Sure, some teenager somewhere feels the earth move every time he/she hears "that song" on the radio. But for the most part we are a visual people, not an aural one.
Then again, maybe my theory is completely wrong. And maybe that's why I couldn't passively ignore the audio constructions of the band known as Collections of Colonies of Bees. Ex-Pele members Chris Rosenau, Jon Mueller, and Jon Minor are joined by Jim Schoenecker to create their fourth full-length release. The band will certainly find fans with the followers of Town & Country, Supersilent, and Tortoise. They construct from pieces and parts of guitar, drum, and found electronic sound. Their "music of distraction" is actually one of calming pleasure.
Repeated lines, odd bits of electronic buzz and pop, loops, and the human touch of acoustic guitar and percussion spell out pastoral themes from oddly engaging electronic detritus. It's a reminder of early experiences with Brain Eno's ambient creations, except there is really nothing ambient happening here.
The recording is released in three formats: an American CD, an LP, and a Japanese CD on the Some-Of-Us label. The mixture of live studio and electronic tracks is reversed for each CD release, meaning that the track "Fun" is live on one disc and electronic on the other. But somebody explain to me why every track is entitled "Fun" except the tenth, which is "Funeral"? To add to the mystery, the LP is an all-electronic affair.
I don't care if this is confusing; Customer remains an engaging and comforting 48 minutes.
Personnel: Jon Minor - Computer, Guitar; Jon Mueller - Things; Chris Rosenau - Guitar; Jim Schoenecker -
Record Label: Polyvinyl Record Co.