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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Samus website  Samus - Desengano [Crucial Blast - 2003]

Mixing raw and primitive sludge with Captain Beefheart’s tricks sounds like a cool idea. But from the idea to the great CD, there is a long way to... So how far did Samus go?

They sure tried hard... Samus is a duo: Jeff Gallagher and John Busher do about everything on this album. Early on in their "career", they were playing some purely sludge music before gradually opening to other influences. Those are not hard to guess: Eyehategod, The Melvins, Captain Beefheart, Sonic Youth and The Residents to name but a few. Not bad...

Like The Residents, Samus use the collage technique a lot. Sounds taken from any imaginable sources are put together in a way that defies all the basics of rational thoughts. Yummy, innit? Well actually not that much. Doom riffs and Casio-sounds over the noises made by monkeys might seem appealing for a while but getting that kind of mix for 70 minutes is quickly exhausting. It could have been cool if it had been done with a minimum of taste and the talent of someone like John Oswald or The Residents. More often than not, Gallagher and Busher show themselves as students. Maybe sophomores, but certainly not graduates...

However, there are some really good moments on Desengano, such as Bone ape tit. It starts like a very good noise-rock track before a slowed down heavy metal over organ bit, then all kind of noises, before a dark metal moment while a Jon Lord wannabe solos in the background. 10/90 is as close you’re likely to get to a regular stoner track, if you except some weird samples. Well that is if 5 minutes in the song, they hadn’t put a mantra sample with some industrial beats and other nice effects...  Defenestration starts in a very Gastr del sol way before turning into a Melvins fuck-fest with a bit of flute (yes...) and some dogs barking at the end... the end if you except the 4 minutes of samples they feed you with to definitely close the album. The best song is the third one, Super-orthepedic caravan (according to Pitchfork, it’s a Duke Ellington cover).  Cartoon music sample, organ playing some “arabic” theme, a bit of exotica and a voice saying “this is bullshit”. This nice and cosy weirdness is disturbed after 3 minutes with a sludgey guitar, slow, distorted beats, noise and a voice saying “you shall be Blackula”. Yeah, quite cool...

Produced the way it should be (ie raw, dirty, lo-fi but in a nasty way), Desengano offers some nice moments. But it fails to be as good as it promised to be. Some homework to do, but there is potential.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

François Monti
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