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At The North Pole, Easter Day, 1982

Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble

At The North Pole, Easter Day, 1982

What The...
LP $18.60


WHAT 012 

***In comparison to the only other available recording of a complete live performance by the BREN’T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE (the side-long “Industrial Barbecue,” on the BUFMS boxset), At The North Pole, Easter Day, 1982 is starker and more minimal overall. Performing as a quintet at an open mic night in a student cafeteria, the group had played live only once prior and had yet to amass the collection of ubiquitous tape players and answering machines that accompanied most subsequent performances and recordings. The absence of overt forward progress in some parts gives the performance an incidental resemblance to those tense moments in grim power electronics just before the singer goes berserk, but then ridiculous verbal repetitions and Top 40 references come out of nowhere like nerdy Fluxus rehearsals in the middle of a New Orleans funeral. Other segments highlight the difference between aboriginal metal percussion and pots ’n’ pans getting banged together by people with a remarkably spastic sense of rhythm. Visually, Bren’t Lewiis were like a cross between the jackets of early Nurse With Wound albums and a bunch of hicks impersonating Spike Jones and His City Slickers. Television sets flickered throughout. DOUG ROBERTS brought his bicycle onstage. Dressed in a labcoat and white wool-felt USAF boots, howling into his signature plastic lawn flamingo, LUCIAN TIELENS stretched the limits of publicly acceptable intimate congress with inanimate objects. TIM SMYTH wore a bunch of Christmas lights attached to a Civil Defense helmet. PETER D. had a garbage bag filled with helium balloons taped to his head and toilet paper wrapped around his face. As some sort of oblique Day-Glo homage to Carmen Miranda, GNARLOS wore a handmade upside-down sweatsuit. The amplified 21-foot aluminum sailboat mast, the undisputed star of the show, was so unwieldy that use of a special freight door was required just to get in and out of the building, and yet a single, lonely metallic “ploong!” was pretty much the limit of its sonic palette—appropriate testament to the methodology of this absurdly inefficient group. Includes insert printed with glow-in-the-dark ink. Edition of 129.

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