Thing & Nothing
Simon Still is driven to murder the slave master of the woman he loves. The master, known as Mashpee Mungquack, is a household appliance, the woman is for sale, and Simon's only alliance is a deceptive adventerer. The utopian predictions of a computer networked society is praised by the media, sanctioned by government and passionately embraced by computer weenies. The terror that humans will stop natural and physical communication altogether is what visionaries may one day call Actual Reality. Thing & Nothing's anti-hero, Simon Still, is ruined and dehumanized by the computerized society his parents at the turn of the century had championed. ___ WHAT IS THIS? 'Thing and Nothing' is a chaotic, manic, circus of an album about love, sex, technology, and murder. It's an opera or a radio play of sorts - it has four + characters who sing their way through a twisted 60 minute plot about virtual reality and finding sex/murder on the future's internet (much like 'The Matrix', but more like a computerized 'The Cell' in themes). The singers sign, talk, scream and howl through the drama. The dialog is feverish and poetic (and sometimes sexual, filthy, and cruel). THE SONGS run together like an opera - there are no 3 minute songs separated by space, the action flows from one song to another. Although there are 37 tracks on the CD, the music carries about 12 main musical themes, with 50 sub themes. The whole story is broken into five large movements or chapters. The track titles help tell the story. THE MUSIC is a circusy, orchestral midi-bomb, with a virtual orchestra playing synthetic, sampled violins and timpanies and fugal horns and drums and cellos and tubas and saxophones and harps. No ones' being fooled that this is a real orchestra, but the tone and grandness of huge band is captured to support the singers singing and screaming. There are no beebs and blips, and no disco-beats or electronica to be found here. The music is fast - like punk rock or ska - and it's grand like Shastakovich or Holst - and it's discordant like Stravinski or Bartok - and it's sometimes ethereal and textured like Cocktiel Twins or My Bloody Valentine - and sometimes it is slow and sensual like a sexy Kate Bush number - but most of the time IT'S ABSURD like Mr. Bungle or John Zorn. It sounds a little like...Mr. Bungle, A Danny Elfman movie soundtrack, Oingo-boingo, Nomeansno if they were a twenty piece, the soundtrack from a Warner Brothers's cartoon, Kate Bush when she's crazy or sexy, Stravinski, an updated, industrial strength Jesus Christ Superstar, moments of Faith No More, a touch My Bloody Valentine, parts of Thought Industry, like the Damned's 'Phantasmagoria', or like Killing Joke, John Zorn, lots of uppidy ska beats, um, Screwtape y1.993k, The Victim's Family, maybe Portishead sometimes, and even Queen. Principal performers include Brent Oberlin from Thought Industry, Chris Bryers of Sleet and Twitch, Michelle Graf of Blue Dahlia and Colin Bradford or Screwtape and Undercast. Music and words by Jeff Till himself.