Composer, multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Peter Martin describes the methodology of his band, Eddie The Rat, as "head music for your feet." Here, the Bay Area twelve-piece unit is captured live in 2001 at Artist's Television Access in San Francisco. And when citing Martin's use of various instruments, it is worth noting that some of them include birdcage, magazine rack, and sermonizing. Percussion also serves as a vital component of the group's impetus, to complement the six primary vocalists. Martin's methodology is largely unclassifiable yet firmly nestled within the avant-garde spectrum, with the opening "Metabolize" conjuring strange illusions of John Cage meeting Pink Floyd and world music artists, all performing under the watchful eye of a twisted spiritual advisor. However, the musicians veer off into ghostly spectrums, spawned by thumping rhythms, plaintive cries, background chatter and a polytonal bombardment of bizarre contrasts.
Eddie The Rat delves into abrasive minimalist ventures and eerie soundscapes amid notions of ascending onto the "other side." The unusual instrumentation is partly equalized by Bill O'Mahony's skronk-like rock guitar phrasings and the core rhythm section's sturdy beats. With booming bass ostinatos and psycho voices, the band embeds a massive array of factors into its repertoire.
On "Spiritual Amnesia," Heather Bradley's rather aching, lead vocals set the stage for a cosmic folk-rock-psychedelic jaunt that teems with dissonant treatments and Jesse Hix's quirky Jews harp lines. Depending on how the program is digested, the music can appear to intimate a blurry nightmare or perhaps a fitting soundtrack for Ouija board fare. Regardless, it's a strangely interesting trip, underscored by the ensemble's offbeat and entertaining manner of spinning a tune.
Track Listing: Metabolized; Listen; Waiting for (Ain't Never Gonna Get); Enlightenment Blues; Food for the Moon Too Soon Pt. 1; Cannibal; I Ovulate in Mode; Spiritual Amnesia; Food for the Moon Too Soon Pt. 2; Primordial Hoot; Life (as a Prosthetic-Workaround for the Soul).
Personnel: Peter J. Martin - (aka Pete Rat): conductor, lead vocals, sermonizing, piano, moog, guitar, birdcage, magazine rack, assorted odds 'n ends; Ronnie Camaro: electric bass, sparklers; Bill O'Mahony: electric guitar; Jesse Hix: contrabass, xylophone, jews harp;
Warren Huegel: percussion, wine glasses; Brandon Foust: percussion, wine glasses; Heather Bradley: lead vocals; Molly Tascone: vocals; Floyd Labar: vocals; Jeanette Labar: vocals; Dione Ardania: vocals;
Vonn Scott Bair: vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.