Of all the music Eugene Chadbourne wrote, improvised, and collaged, his Insect and Western series is his most difficult to understand and enjoy. Not that it's particularly harsh, but most of the time (with a big exception for The Insect and Western Party) it simply seems to make no sense. The Intellectual and Emotional World of the Cockroach contains six pieces performed by various lineups, some of them real, the other ones virtually assembled by editing and/or multi-tracking separate performances. The music was more or less scored. Themes are noticeable and structures can be detected from the way the performances evolve. But this music feels dense, almost monolithic, even though most sections breathe -- a few feature only a trio of banjos. But the lack of apparent direction and of possible anchoring points for the listener make it very confusing. One comes out of it wondering if he missed on something or if it actually was labored and meaningless. This CD will only please those fond of Insect and Western: Insect Attracter or Chadbourne's earlier work, The English Channel. For those used to the Doctor's zany humor and crazy song covers, there exist better entry points to his more serious compositions.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture
feat: Ted Reichman