Weasel Walter

Eruption

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A follow-up to Weasel Walter's previous album for Grob, Eruption is significantly better than Tribute to Masayuki Takayanagi -- which doesn't make it less of a noise-fest. The mad drummer is back with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Guitarist-noisician (and declared death metal fan) Kevin Drumm replaces Jim O'Rourke. The album title could be lifted from a free jazz LP -- it has that ring to it -- and, as a matter of fact, Walter's playing is here considerably jazzier. The drums are recorded in less bombastic fashion and his playing is more nuanced, even though still very aggressive. But if focusing solely on the drumming, one thinks more of Tony Williams, Ronald Shannon Jackson or Han Bennink than any speed metal drummer. On the other hand, Drumm and Lonberg-Holm are making as much noise as they can: raw, harsh, painful noise. Is there another level? Is it a tribute to or a mockery of free jazz? With Walter's projects, it becomes almost impossible to tell and this uncertainty in the intention is what draws listeners to the man's music. Recorded in the studio, the album consists of three improvised pieces, themselves split into 40 indexes. The indexes have little use except to provide Walter with 40 occasions to write exquisitely vicious titles. And so in "Blood," the album's title becomes "Erupting with Pus," followed by "Eruption of Pus," and "Eruption of Non Compliant Pus in the Plague of Mediocrity," which throws the tribute/mockery question all around the room. The titles of the 20-part "Mania" take the form of a fragmented conversation between artist and music critic that could be used to put together a complete review of the album. Two of them in particular, despite being contradictory, explain very accurately the essence of this album: "Serious music with sardonic song titles" and "We're funny and if you don't agree, you're stupid." Oh, and it's one hell of a ride, certainly not for every pair of ears.