Rev. 99

Everything Changed After 7-11

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This second album from the group/collective Rev. 99 is much different than 2001's Turn a Deaf Ear in terms of content, approach, and lineup. Still led by 99 Hooker and Ernesto Diaz-Infante, the outfit has grown into a loose group of contributors feeding the post-production frenzy of the aforementioned two plus Jeff Arnal, Ross Bonadonna, and Akio Mokuno. Guests include Chris Forsyth, Donald Miller, Bob Marsh, and LX Rudis. The title contains a whole program by itself: Drawing a parallel between a chain of convenient stores and the consecrated expression designating the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, opens doors to a multileveled criticism on consumer culture, from goods to news. Improvised music performed separately (Diaz-Infante's mail collaboration technique finds a variation in 99 Hooker's phone-in contributions), deconstructed and rearranged in the studio, is a strange beast. How can you comment on the performances when you don't even know to what extent the end result reflects them? You need to dive in, let yourself be absorbed, shaken, and tossed around by the record. Similarities with Eugene Chadbourne's basement sound collages of the 1980s are obvious, with one big difference: sound quality! Two tracks, "Britney Spears Autopsy" and "Notes on a Nervous Breakdown," have been taken out by the CD manufacturer for copyright reasons. They are left blank on the album, although one could easily see in "Britney Spears Autopsy" a biting comment as to the emptiness of the Lolita's songs, especially since its duration -- three minutes, 44 seconds -- mirrors John Cage's "4'33" (both are available for free download on Pax Recordings' website at www.paxrecordings.com/linernotes/rev99.html). This album reveals its meaning slowly, one listening after another. Take the time to investigate; it's well worth it.

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