Christopher Penrose

American Jingo

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Christopher Penrose's American Jingo is a strange, very strange album. Forget the fact that it bridges experimental sound collage and electro-acoustic music, which by itself makes it unusual by regular standards. His two pieces engage in a reflection on American pop/trash culture from a perspective that can be uncomfortable at times. Riding the fence between cynicism and humor, it makes for quite an entertaining ride. The title piece (20 minutes) shuffles around a number of samples from media sources tied together by abstract sound art gestures. A kind of TV voice-over guy character throws in snippets of motivational speeches (like "Be a winner at losing"). The opening line, "Here's what you think," promises more than the piece actually delivers. Progressing by leaps, it doesn't break from its form, feeling like the loosely knitted patchwork it is. The other piece, "MK/Ultra" (25 minutes) begins with a noisy drone, a pastiche of meditative music avant-garde style (on a flap of the digipak it is illustrated by an American flag with a gonzo esoteric symbol in place of the stars). A second movement introduces an AM radio show conversation in which a caller (discharged from the military) warns the public about an imminent alien invasion. If it is bogus, it is very well written and spoken, in pure sci-fi B movie style. After an instrumental cut-up, the aliens take control and dictate a new set of life rules, culminating in the often-repeated "Rock slowly -- but kill the motherf***** if he tries to take your money." The piece ends in a Merzbow-like orgy of noise. American Jingo is entertaining to an avant-garde fan's ears, but on the conceptual level it lacks some foundation.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
19:16 Amazon
24:15 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick