Still as uncompromising as it was at its release almost ten years ago, The Flying Luttenbachers Destroy All Music Revisited is an amalgamation of so many disparate styles of music that it continues to remain virtually unclassifiable. Formed by percussionist and Hal Russell protégé Weasel Walter in 1994, the group went through numerous personnel changes before arriving at the one that would record this, the group's best conceived and must successful effort.
The album features a line-up that pulled from all corners of the experimental Chicago music scene of the 1990s. Joining Walter is saxophonist Chad Organ (who doubles on Moog synthesizer), reedist and free jazz staple Ken Vandermark (who served as Walter's co-leader as a member of the group), trombonist, bassist and Vandermark 5 member Jeb Bishop, and guitarist Dylan Posa. This unique combination of jazz virtuosity and punk rock aestheticism tore apart the walls between No Wave, noise, metal and jazz to create a sound not unlike saxophonist Peter Brotzmann's Last Exit, though The Flying Luttenbachers may be even more relentless and jugular.
The album opens with the grinding "Demonic Velocities/20,000,000 Volts," whose initial single-note saxophone line leads the way into a percussive onslaught of stop-start rhythms, manic genre switches, and all-out chaos. The chaos continues with "Fist Through Glass," which may have even more punk influence. This is an adrenalin releasing mess, complete with thrash guitars, driving drums, and horns that sound more suited to demolition than music.
The original release signaled a regrouping of the ensemble, and consisted of tracks recorded in the studio, live, and in Walter's garage. The noisy freak-out of "(In Progress)" is an improvised piece recorded to 4-track cassette in a shed behind Walter's apartment, while "Tiamat en Arc" is pulled from a live show. The latter features an opening not dissimilar to the deranged lounge that John Zorn's Naked City treads into, but the sudden instrumental break quickly disavows any allegiances this group has to genre.
The original album closed with "Final Variation on a Theme Entitled 'Attack Sequence,'" a piece the group had already released in various manifestations four times. This particular version contains the broken fragments of speed metal, downtown experimental and, of course, jazz, leaving all of them scorched and smoldering on the floor by the end.
The reissue appends seven tracks, six of which are live performances. All of these add further depth to a recording already unmatched in its relentless destruction of musical conformity. Destroy All Music Revisited still fulfills its title's mission statement, and is an important reminder of a group that, despite its under-recognition, is perhaps more relevant than ever.
Demonic Velocities/20,000,000 Volts; Fist Through Glass; Sparrow's
Thin Lot; Spl
Chad Organ: tenor & baritone saxophones, Moog synthesizer; Dylan
Posa: electric guitar; Weasel Walter:
percussion; Jeb Bishop: bass guitar, trombone, Casio keyboard; Ken
Vandermark: tenor saxophone, clarinet,
bass clarinet (1, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).