Phantomsmasher: Ipecac's latest smash
Vincent Francone
10/14/2002 3:25:29 PM

From the opening track of Phantomsmasher's eponymously titled CD [Ipecac] one gets a good idea of what to expect. "Bishop Hopping", as that first track is called, is a strange and fascinating mixture of melodic guitar play, mechanical and organic drums crashing, otherworldly vocals and electronic fuzz all sifted through what sounds like the Devil's own lap top. The rest of the album follows suit.

Phantomsmasher is the brain child of James Plotkin, a sort of mad scientist of the avant music world. His work has taken the form of many bands and he is a peer of some of the finest (and fiercest) musicians around. Most recently, he was known as Atomsmasher-- a more direct noise project in the Japanese tradition. The noise now being flushed out with some free jazz and aggressive electronica, Phantomsmasher has arrived now when we need them most. The group consists of Plotkin, drummer Dave White and "audiomulch vocals" by DJ Speedranch. The output is a beautiful piece of dada that is nothing short of exciting.

Venturing into odd places where only the brave dare, Phantomsmasher could be the savior of art rock, free jazz, avant, electronica, noise, or whatever goddamn label one wishes to slap on. Each track flows beautifully, shifting from chaos to lyricism and back. Several moments begin smoothly, fooling the ear, and then immediately turn harsh and brutal, taking the listener on a bizarre ride through sonic waves that as pleasing as they are challenging. This is as interesting as music gets.

Something this odd and equally enjoyable comes around rarely. Phantomsmasher deserves your attention.


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