Dymaxion

Dymaxion x 4 + 3 = 38:33

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The New York quartet Dymaxion once released a self-made tape Presentation vs. Soundman, so called after their constant struggles with sound engineers at their live performances. After listening to Dymaxion x 4 + 3 = 38:33 you might end up sympathizing with the oblivious soundmen, as Dymaxion make the strangest but most wonderful music around. This compilation (originally released as an import on Japan's Trattoria label) is comprised of the band's first four 7" EPs alongside other rare tracks and a cover of the Fall, "U.S. 80s, 90s." Most songs on the LP are no more than two minutes long with refreshingly odd titles like "Aha, Sissy Arsonist" and "???," while the outstanding track is "Mme Commander," with Dymaxion's trademark military drumming and a catchy four-chord guitar riff. Those short pieces of music somehow gel together like the soundtrack to a wacky spy movie and there is a strong cinematic feel to the record, with its ‘60s Ennio Morricone guitar sounds and soulful brass arrangements. "Why? Why Do I Bum Around?" is similar to a lazy, drugged-out Polvo, and -- in familiar Dymaxion territory -- the song steadily gets busier, then breaks down into a minimalist bass riff in a manner akin to fellow art rockers Ui. "Ant'lrd Ally" is an attempt to cover the Bullitt soundtrack gone wrong, scattered with erratic drums loops, random samples, and electronic sound bursts, while "I-Man Transport is reminiscent of Faust with a robotic voice counting alongside atonal backing vocals. With its disjointed song arrangements and discordant sampled vocals, Dymaxion x 4 + 3 = 38:33 still sustains a melancholic pop sensibility that even the jerky noise collages can't disguise. Although this excellent LP doesn't quite capture Dymaxion's raw live groovy energy, it is still an influential record, not least in the way the band's funky drumming and weird samples have inspired the Liars and other New-York post-punk groups.

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