Vacuum Tree Head - Discoteca MM2

10 songs
68:52 minutes
***** *
Pest Colors


Last year I was totally overwhelmed by Vacuum Tree Head’s album Thirteen! which managed to spew out fifteen songs in twenty minutes. This year’s Discoteca MM2 contains already one track which doubles the length of its predecessor, thus showing an entirely different face of this cryptic band from the USA.

Vacuum Tree Head were founded in the late Eighties by core members Jason Berry and Michael de la Cuesta, and since then have written some 240 compositions and played with over 140 musicians. In their early days, the band released cassette albums, and recently they have started uploading tons of animation music video clips to YouTube. It’s self-evident that this is not just one more typical band, but rather a musical collective with a gigantic sense of discovery.

Discoteca MM2 is not a regular new album, but rather a compilation of tracks recorded between 1991 and 2003, all of them either unreleased or to be found on incredibly rare releases. There is for instance The Call (Mefallicator Dub), a new dub mix of a track they recorded for a Sun Ra tribute album. Quite intriguing is also Nora Barbarossa which features guitarist Ron Anderson who helps give this piece an authentic Frank Zappa flair. The one minute short Mahockle bridges the gap between grindcore and gypsy punk. Otherwise you get a lot of experimental free jazz rock music. The album’s centrepiece is evidently Tar’ Hai Wizard, a nearly forty-three minute long homage to the artist Mobius. It takes a lot of stamina to listen through the entire length of this improvisation consisting of electric guitars, bass clarinet, assorted percussion and electronics.

As you can gather from my rating, I preferred their previous album, but Discoteca MM2 certainly also has its share of merits. I would have welcomed more of their shorter material, because once you subtract the album’s long track, you are left with only twenty-six minutes of, admittedly, quite experimental music. Friends of music without stylistic restrictions and a sense of wonder should still consider giving this far reaching a compilation their attention.

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