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Cereal Banter – Junk Jazz [12”]; Oatmeal Outburst [cassette] (Cereal Banter)

Cereal Banter - Junk Jazz
19 February 2017

This oddball and obstreperous Cleveland experimental duo provoked heaps of head scratches and eye rolls with their first two LPs, 2011’s Lights Lights Lights and 2012’s Sunblur, as well as 2013’s sprawling 22-minute 12” single “Sties of Pigs Flying with Flowers, Fields of Green Watered By Showers.” But despite drummer/founder Joseph Joseph’s replacing of departed keyboardist Molly Pamela with bassist and chiptune artist Nicholas Gunzburg as CB’s “other half” in 2015, Junk is as spastic and strident as their previous releases. And perhaps due to Gunzburg’s “expertise in electronic-building and manipulation,” it’s also stouter. Indeed, his thick layers of distortion make “Gnarly Chaplin,” the title track, and 13-minute closer “Old-Timey Physics” rumble like revving Harley engines, belching lava cauldrons, and stampeding elephants. Not to be outdone, Joseph’s shambolic stickwork on “Is This Ride Operational?” feels like a bevy of bowling balls in a blender, while on “Spare Particles” – which conjures up a crazed, chaotic carousel ride – his boisterous, brutal banging sounds like he’s just slung his drumkit down a steep, spiraling staircase. Only Gunzburg’s sporadic, spaced-out vocals provide a breather from the bombardment.

The earlier two-song, 27-minute cassette, recorded tape-to-tape in 2015, was the current duo’s first effort together. (Its song titles, “Oatmeal Outburst” and “Porridge Parley,” are punny plays on the band’s breakfast-related moniker!) It’s an even more aggressive, arduous assault on the senses, if less idiosyncratic. And with its more trebly, tinnitus-inducing production, you’ll want to keep plenty of Tylenol on hand before popping it into the tape deck. (