WE ARE THE MUSK BRIGADE - Sand Dunes + Beef Balloons / Let Me See Your Moo-Flomps
How do you go about reviewing an album that 99.9% of the population would even have a hard time to define as music? First of all, you need an understanding of who the man behind We Are The Musk Brigade, Jesse Krakow, is! Secondly you need an affinity towards experimental rock music, otherwise you can forget it from the start.
So the first part can be explained rather easily. Jesse Krakow is a tremendous bass player and an incredible workaholic who is at ease with hi-fi sounds (math metal band Time Of Orchids, jazzy Captain Beefheart tribute band Fast n' Bulbous, angular jazz rock three piece Pak) and lo-fi sounds (as a solo artist and with countless other projects I haven't heard of yet) alike. WATMB takes the term lo-fi to a new dimension. It is a band that does not exist, consisting of people that sometimes haven't even met and don't know each other. It's about someone recording half an hour of music on a tape, sending it to someone else who will be dubbing something over it, etc. This promises from the beginning to become something rather chaotic, and if that's what you expect, you won't be disappointed.
The first 17 songs are the Sand Dunes + Beef Balloons part. They are a collaborative effort between Jesse Krakow on bass and Friends Forever drummer Nate Hayden. I guess both of them do the vocals, but it's hard to tell. The songs are generally very short and suffer from poor sound quality, which is a little astonishing as there are only two people involved. If you listen long enough to this first half hour, you will detect some raw diamonds, like All I Want To Do Is Rock And Roll or Not Enough Me, that both sounds like dirtier versions from Jesse Krakow's brilliant solo album Oceans In The Sun. All in all this first part is a bit awkward to listen to.
Let Me See Your Moo-Flomps united six different people, and surprisingly comes with a much better sound. The eight songs (one of which is a grating white noise Scutopus remix) are generally much longer and not as funny as the short pieces on the first half. They rather build up atmospheres, which can be witnessed especially on the long Making No-No's. The 90's (It Was) rather sounds like Shaft on really bad heroin, and there is certainly nothing to laught with the Mystery Clown, a song that lives off its great spooky vocal lines.
There is a true schizophrenic feeling to the album, starting out with funny but not really accessible tunes, and ending with more listenable if darker pieces, with the second part being ultimately more redeeming. Both albums (that come on one disc though) were produced by Jesse Krakow himself and mastered by Colin Marston (Infidel?/Castro!, Behold The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Byla), giving us the impression that all the East Coast workaholics united to make this weird but still somewhat cool album(s?).
Jesse Krakow has already finished his songs for four more WATMB albums, which should yield at least two more CDs in the near future, of course always with completely different line-ups, and therefore also different results.
It is hard, probably even impossible to rate music like this, but I still will give it 7 points: 4 for the first half, 8 for the second half, and adding one point of goodwill to the general average. The price of 4$ (plus postage) should encourage you to give this experimental piece of art a chance.