Transmitters

I Fear No One...

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Jangle jangle tucked inside cacophony is just part of the mantra of the Transmitters on I Fear No One..., a 22-track album that is a combination of non-stop erratic mania mixed in with avant-garde ambient-flavored musical experiments. The notes on this CD scrapbook are frustratingly threadbare except for the track listing of the 14 or so musicians who show up to perform on specific songs/essays. A cover of the Velvet Underground's "Ferryboat Bill," once embraced on a mini-four-song bootleg EP before being legitimized on Another View, is a nice run-through but not as true to the spirit as other Velvets-inspired pieces like "Ache." Total beat poetry stream of consciousness in that song: is he singing "Another mad crush another man abuses"? Who knows? -- it's another mad descent into a quagmire of electronic sounds -- one of the previously unreleased tracks recorded around London, and one of the more impressive ones. Moody music with a pessimistic point of view announced over the musical wanderings and so different from the harsh punk of "Paper Boy," a 35 second 1978 track from the album 24 Hours. It's all a bit more cohesive than Half Japanese but still disorganized enough to keep this music firmly stuck in the realm of college radio with little chance of mainstream crossover. Title track, "I Fear No-One But My Friends," is an odd mixture of perhaps Devo meets the Quick of Mondo Deco fame while "Kill the Postman" owes much to David Thomas and latter day Pere Ubu, the four tracks from BBC Radio One's The John Peel Show, recorded November 21, 1979, proving to be exceptional. "Ugly Man" seems like a taut Ric Ocasek nightmare he forgot to include on a Suicide LP, decidedly different from the catchy "O.5 Alive" which opens the disc. There's plenty on I Fear No One for both fans and newcomers to absorb and enjoy, and it's nice that music from a band with limited output is cataloged so well on this retrospective.

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