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 Supergroup - PS 08/88
  Release Date: 31 March 1997
  Limitation: 1000

   Nous sommes dans le mix         13.27
   Little Girl                      3.00
   Angry Man                       17.41
   A Glass Table and a Spoon        1.27
   Pookies Japanese Adventure       2.57
   MAD MAD MAD                     11.01
   Supergroup Sunday               14.12

  all tracks written by Thomas Bullock, Prof. Phartiphuckborlz, 
    Charles Uzzell-Edwards and Mammal

The very opening of the cd reminded me of Negativland. To me, that was quite pleasing.

The first track picks up with some old skool sounding computer voice samples. The music tends to be in the same vain. The samples are in experimental abundance, and tend to stray away from the environmental ambience that FAX is known for. We are graced with a beat and a very nice melody that comes and goes. This is a track that can annoy some people, and please others. I am rather pleased with it. It is the melody that makes the track work.

Track 2 becomes a short interlude of minimalism, unlike the first track, but making a nice connection to the third track. The spoken word samples and background music in the third track entitled ANGRY MAN, and superb. The music is somewhat on the environmental trip, but with a little more psychedelica thrown in. At 6:09 into track three, it sounds like a Doors sample which no sooner graces its presence, and abruptly ends. The track takes many forms, and each with an experimental tinge.

Track 6 breaks into a more drum and bass beat, but not as prevalent as the typical techno of that genre. It remains hypnotic and rather consistent. This becomes a funky techno tune with a Tom and Jerry piano flare. This is my favorite track of the album."I have no psychiatrist and I don't need a psychiatrist." Maybe so Mr. Cue!

This album will not please many I would suspect, but it's a great romp into the lesser-recognized albums on FAX.

(review by jackthetab)

1) Track 1 opens with a collage of spoken francais, with synth blurps and slurps. A drum track comes in at two minutes followed by a bass line up-front. A nice trilling melody works its way n at about 4 minutes. The bass line and a lot of electronic swurps and bwirls follow. The drum continues to establish a baseline while the bass line and the electronics continue to interweave and develop a variety of sounds. 9 minutes and the drums change and cohesion begins to be lost. The piece develops a nice groove until about 12 minutes when some voices are overlaid on the instrumentals. The trilling melodic figure returns and the track begins to fade out.

2) The transition from track 1 to 2 is quite good. If I were not watching the timer, I would not have known that the track and the title had changed, except for the female voice mentioning curiosity and the title--Little Girl. The piece centers around an electronic rhythm track with spacey synth sounds lurking in the mix. The piece ends abruptly at 3 minutes.

3) Now, a complete change of pace: track 3 opens with a flute sample, voices from an apparent documentary about LSD, and off we go! More change of pace to a spacey sound occurs at about 1:30. This is the CDs longest cut at 17:41. It becomes spacier, somewhat disjointed, but it manages to maintain a semblance of coherence. This is more akin to CUE's other work, particularly the Octopus series, in that it is more sound/music sculpture. Four names are credited in composition but I have a suspicion that four is really two. At 6:10 a sample of the Doors "Whiskey Bar" takes center stage and then disappears as quickly as it came. The piece is not melodically tied together but is now a series of electronic sounds and samples. This is an exercise in sound collage not music with melody or rhythm. I find this interesting but not something to which I would listen on a regular basis. At 10:20 or so, the Doors briefly reappear and we are lost in a wash of spacey sounds and samples. This tweaking and swooshing continues for 3 minutes when drumming takes center stage along with a previously heard melody line. This is reminiscent of Charles' Gardening Club tape. Voices move in and out of the rhythm-less section only to be replaced by a short percussive piece. Its gone and the spacey stuff comes back. This entire track is a bunch of guys (or a couple) playing with sounds and having fun doing it.

4) This starts with a percolating motif which continues essentially untouched while various electronic bleeps and blurps override it. There is a brief bit of human sounds a the end of this 1:27 long track.

5) "Pookie's Japanese Adventure" starts with a more familiar drum bit with some nice synth washes followed by a human voice and lasts 1:30.

6) MADMADMAD opens with a voice followed by a disjointed drum figure which comes and goes. After a minute or so, the drums settle into a groove with electronics working in and around the beat. This feels more hip hop than ambient but I'm no good at recognizing or describing genres of music. At -6:35 (I changed timing modes), the percussion changes and a more electronic groove takes over. After a minute, the drums come back along with a sparse piano figure and then the piece becomes more dense with some synth flourishes and voices. The beat remains and becomes the most prominent feature of the music. Less than 2 minutes to go and the beat is gone briefly; a voice pleads for a few seconds and then the dominant beat comes back. The last thirty seconds have the beat coming and going and then the whole thing ends.

7) Electronic swooshes and twirls begins "Supergroup Sunday." A subdued percussion motif comes in after less than a minute while the electronics burble over the top. A strong bass figure enters at -11:30 or thereabouts. This is pleasant and interesting stuff. At -10, the electronics become more developed and insistent. So far, this has a nice Fax sound and groove. The piece floats along with some variations in melody and samples until about -4 minutes. A more hard-edged electronic sound slices into the mix followed by some significant trilling and a nice synth melody. -2:25 and piano samples (at least I think its piano) screw up the timing of the groove a bit but its done well. This continues to -15 seconds and the conclusion uses only percussion. All in all, a laid-back, pleasant track.

This CD was released at about the same time as DADA and Octopus III. The latter is more quiet and ambient as I remember it. I prefer DADA to Supergroup but find both worthy additions to the Fax canon.

(review by Burton Thomas)


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