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Glands of External Secretion - Northern Exposure Will Be Right Back (1995)
A bizarre and bizarrely wonderful all over the place collection of Glands mania, Nosejob should come with a warning sticker asking anyone who expects the slightest bit of cohesion to put the disc back unplayed. That's very much a compliment if you're into everything from teenage folkiness to full on chaos, and anyone thinking he or she has the artwork of Barbara Manning sorted out because of her solo and SF Seals work really needs to give this an ear and destroy some perceptions. Snippets of completely different and random performances are plopped down squarely in the middle of songs, edits are sudden and jarring, and things can jump from electrified mayhem to sepulchral spoken word just like that. And the thing is, it's great! Manning and Seymour Glass dig deep into their various archives to put everything together, and the whole notion of this just being an odds-and-sods collection is turned on its head because of all the editing and self-referencing. Snippets from rare Glands concerts crop up here and there -- a version of the kiddie song "Railroad" gets flavored with bits of a wholly different live take, while "Can't You See My Words?" and its feedback insanity are all there for the listener. There are a number of songs that are comparatively sane -- "P. Frankenstein," intro aside, is Manning playing and singing a wryly funny number with a muffled clarinet overdub. There's also more than a few selections from The Shattered Future, Glass' early-'80s radio show, sometimes in full and sometimes again salted into other songs, like the combination spoken word/atonal jam/who-knows-what "Something Bad in Front of Me." In the middle of all this is a cover of the early-'70s Bee Gees' song "Run to Me," performed by Manning and her sister on acoustic guitar at their high school in 1979. ~ Ned Raggett, All Music Guide
So why am I so high on 'Northern Exposure'? Good question, I'd have to say mainly it's the perfect medium between Glass' best period of Bananafish which translates to stellar aural collage stitchery + Manning's channeling of Damo Suzuki by way of Phones Sportsman = one damn fine lp. As the record opens, one is transported into a fantastical world of the classic SF music scene. I'm not talking about Quicksilver or the Grateful Dead (hungry!), nor am I referring to Chrome or Flipper (feed me!), but Thinking Fellers & World Of Pooh (Gub! Gub!). There is lot's of shimmer & shine, some of Manning's words are of such a higher key I wonder why they have not been anthologized in the Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal. The best of this lp is comprised on so many levels one cannot help but feel incredulous. Like I have stated earlier, lot's of what is "good" on here wistfully recalls the more esoteric moments of Swell Maps 'Jane From Occupied Europe' or a Can smoke break, but then Glass & Manning drop an o & it becomes "God". Like when it gnashes via Morton Feldman & Joan LaBarbara chewing a rusty hotdog, cries like Masonna trying to wriggle out of quicksand filled with liquid ether & wasbai powder, or thrusts itself, like a heat seeking bowling ball, into a lane full of Z'ev filled ten pins. For those of you not paying attention let me also add Department Store Santas, Velvet Underground, Theatre Of Eternal Music and Los Angeles Free Music Society. Oh, and Sun Ra. Thank you.So I assume you get the picture. Call it noise, cutups, collage, whatever; 'Northern Exposure Will Be Right Back' is definitely a defining moment in definitive. I highly recommend it with my most highest possible recommendation... It's 11 years old now. Hard to believe. I have heard cassettes & cdr's of recent bands stamped with skulls & unicorns that wish they sounded as fresh. Of course, those are no longer around. This still is. A funny old world we live in. It's good crack. Check it out. (Campbell Campbell, 2006)
Don't expect to find the usual Barbara Manning here. Yes, there are a few songs of hers, but you have to dig very deep to find them, under the noise, clicks, beeps, and shattered sounds that Seymour Glass used to cover them. Try it if you want to listen something that's exploring the limits of its creators talent, the limits of deconstructing music and the limits of your listening ability.