Friday, 12 March 2021

Devo ‎– Duty Now For The Future (1979)

Style: New Wave, Synth-pop 
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Warner Bros. Records, Virgin

01.   Devo Corporate Anthem
02.   Clockout
03.   Timing X
04.   Wiggly World
05.   Blockhead
06.   Strange Pursuit
07.   S.I.B. (Swelling Itching Brain)
08.   Triumph Of The Will
09.   The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprize
10.   Pink Pussycat
11.   Secret Agent Man
12.   Smart Patrol / Mr. DNA
13.   Red Eye

Producer, Engineer – Ken Scott
Remastered By – Isao Kikuchi

Devo is sort of the rock equivalent of Kurt Vonnegut, taking off from premises it only half understands. These guys synthesize trenchant experimental trends into a hodgepodge that’s compelling only to those without the intellectual vigor to penetrate the band’s surface pose to find the real pose underneath. Like the rest of the No Wave to which they’re appended as a kind of accessible doppelgänger, Devo’s funkless chubs have very few new ideas—most of the concepts on their second album, Duty Now for the Future, have been recycled from Frank Zappa, the Yardbirds and other Sixties avant-gardists — and the handful of original notions they do try to express are mostly lame or fraudulent. As rock & roll, this sort of stuff is a horror show that dispenses with backbeat, melody and raw emotion — i.e., all the things that ever made rock worthwhile.

“Strange Pursuit,” for instance, is built on a guitar riff at least as old as the Mothers of Invention’s Absolutely Free. There’s a stock Zappa line surrounded by banal lifts from the kind of psychedelia that people stopped fiddling with after Jimi Hendrix emerged to point the way to a productive use of distortion and power. “Devo Corporate Anthem,” like most of the group’s attempts to preach and philosophize, means to be ominous but finally sounds like a lift from the Masterpiece Theatre theme. This band wants to pass itself off as a specter of the multinational future of a society ruled by corporate technology, yet its manipulation of high-tech resources is so clumsy that the end result is finally a lot less scary than the simple arrogance of standard British rockers like Queen.

What Devo, like most No Wavers, apparently doesn’t understand is that inspired amateurism works only when the players aspire to something better: both Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and the more anonymous guitar genius of Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction” were audibly straining against their limitations as musicians. Devo celebrates those limitations and leaves us stuck with them, which is aggravating. If these characters are so smart, how come they can’t establish a groove?

Because they aren’t that smart. Like wiseass rockers from the Mothers to Sparks, Devo picks easy targets (“Blockhead”), regurgitates slogans and clichés (“Triumph of the Will,” for a really choice — or rank — example) without thinking much about their meaning, and generally shows contempt and disdain for anyone not as glib as the group is. To say that this critic despises Devo does not go nearly far enough. When I finish typing this, I’m taking a hammer to Duty Now for the Future, lest it corrupt anyone dumb or innocent enough to take it seriously. Shards sent on request.
Dave Marsh / Rolling Stone

Manifestation - Axiom Collection II (1993)

Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Axiom

01.  Material - Mantra (Doors Of Perception Mix)
02.  Praxis - Animal Behaviour (Transmutation Video Version)
03.  Bahia Black - Capitão Do Asfalto
04.  Material - Reality Dub (Virtual Reality Mix)
05.  Nicky Skopelitis - Tarab Dub (Wasteland Mix)
06.  Master Musicians Of Jajouka - A Habibi Ouajee T'Allel Allailya
07.  Henry Threadgill - Better Wrapped / Better Unrapped (Edit)
08.  Mandingo - Lanmbasy Dub (Kora In Hell Mix)
09.  Gnawa Music of Marrakesh - Baniya
10.  Praxis - Dead Man Walking (Edit)
11.  Material - Playin' With Fire (Praxis Remix/Edit)
12.  Talip Ozkan - Feridem

The second compilation of Axiom artists showboats the label's aggressive aggregate of traditional formats and urban innovation, including a mind-bending "Tarab Dub" transmuted from Nicky Skopelitis' Ekstasis, the "Kora in Hell Mix" of a cut by Foday Musa Suso's griot dance band Mandingo, plus reality shifts by Material, Praxis, the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Bahia Black and Turkish saz-ist Talip Ozkan. Redeeming Manifestation from the particularly painful rung of Purgatory reserved for ambitious anthologists is the fact that many musicians guest on one another's compositions, resulting in a big fat holistic ambience bolstered by Bill Laswell's genre-straddling bottomless pit production. This is the sound of psychedelia to come.
Bob Tarte / AllMusic