Daevid Allen

Divided Alien Clockwork Band

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A typically daffy and Dada live performance by Daevid Allen in New York circa 1980, Divided Alien Clockwork Band is part university lecture (advanced credit only; working knowledge of the albums Allen recorded in the '70s with Gong, particularly the Radio Gnome Trilogy, is essential), part Bonzo Dog Band-style multimedia musical comedy, part Frippertronics-style avant rock demonstration, and part space rock freakout. Backed by drummers Fred Maher and Bill Bacon and bassist Bill Laswell -- this was the time during which Allen was living in New York and investigating the nascent downtown scene -- Allen cycles between synthesizers and his trademark gliss guitar while also engaging with the audience in his typically cryptic, stream-of-consciousness fashion. The best tracks are ones like the slowly unfolding "Smile," in which Allen and his backing trio have enough time to actually find a groove among Allen's disjointed fragments; some of the songs are simply too short to get one's head around before Allen and company are darting down yet another blind alley. For the perseverant, however, Divided Alien Clockwork Band does untangle enough to give some tantalizing glimpses into Daevid Allen's inimitable mind.

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