Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Space Negros

"Too Much Talk" b/w "Son of Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Part V"
7" 45, Arf-Arf Records, 1990

Erik Lindgren is perhaps best known in rock circles for bringing together Roger Miller and Clint Conley, and while that's good enough for admission to the cool part of heaven, he's no slouch in his own work. His biggest feat (well, outside mid-wiving Mission of Burma) is being a founding and continuing member of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, a soaring chamber rock quartet who, if you haven't ever experienced, are highly recommended - both live and recorded (Roger Miller played in the first incarnation but then you already knew that). Since late '70s, he's run a respected 24-track studio in Boston and has composed music for film, commercials and TV - as well as working hard at composing "real" contemporary classical music. He plays keyboards with the Sonare Wind Trio, a sort of woodwind+keyboards Kronos Quartet that's just as comfortable in the concert hall as they are in the Lizard Lounge. He also started and continues to run Arf Arf Records, an archival label with about 5 dozen records in their catalog covering old garage punk and "incredibly strange" music. Not to mention sFz, a sort of adult contemporary progressive label and countless other projects and side-projects and collaborations and...

Finally, there's The Space Negros (and yes, that's how it is spelled) documenting Lindgren's '79 to late '80s exploration of exotic music and rock. Previous releases included an LP of "Generic Ethnic Musak" covers of garage punk/psyche classics, a goof Xmas 7" and some other offbeat stuff. Roger Miller and others show up here and there to play but its mostly Lindgren playing around in his studio. The a-side of this, "Too Much Talk" is Esquivel meets The Residents and they try to eat him for dinner. Lindgren mixes synth with orchestral instruments and a new-wave rock vocal that suggests a less sedate Mark Mothersbaugh. Ultimately, as in much one-man progressive rock efforts, the scripted nature of the effort tends to distract from any emotional effect. But its still a dazzling experiment. Side 2 doesn't fare as well with the "Son of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part V" - a "B" slasher movie score (duh) duet of sorts between a straight-ahead synth composition and a raging chainsaw. Its worth a listen but only every 10 years or so.

"Too Much Talk" (147 kbps VBR, 4 Mb)

Note: Samples MP3s are for discussion purposes only and only available in a short timeframe after the posting. All rights are reserved by the original copyright holders.

References included links below and:
Our Band Could Be Your Life - Michael Azerrad

- Arf-Arf Records (this record is still available here for $3.50 and was included on the first CD compilation of The Space Negros - Dig Archeology )
- Froogle scan of Space Negros
- Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and their Cuneiform page
- Erik Lindgren and the Sonare Wind Trio
- Dredd Foole talks about Lindgren, Moving Parts, Burma, etc.


Fire of lovE said...

Like that Lindgren guy, all real nice things. Thanks for this post.

Jim H said...

Its funny - just went to your site and see you have a post about an Arf Arf records release - we must be on similar wavelengths.

Scott said...

The Space Negros has got to be the best band name on Earth.

Excellent post as usual man.