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History and Geography

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As a musical journey, these "post-Pere Ubu" episodes from drummer Scott Krauss and bassist Tony Maimone -- both multi-instrumentalists here -- and the man who would become a latter-day Pere Ubu guitarist, Jim Jones, are a delicious blend of sound and innovation. Conspicuous in its absence is the Dave Thomas voice from the dark cosmos, replaced by a John Cale-ish drawl from vocalist Jeff Morrison. "Monkey Town" is discordant fun and games while "From the Life of King John" is the lost art of new wave searching for its Sky Saxon roots. For those bored with the elitist and overblown music of Mission of Burma, these soldiers are the real deal on this collection of magic restored and enhanced for the new millennium. The 75 minutes of sound and music here are nonstop relentless entertainment. The 18 tracks are so all over the map that it is hard to get a grasp on what is taking place, which works well for repeated spins -- and perhaps the random avant-garde car alarm going off outside your house (if you're so lucky) while this disc is spinning. "Marco Polo: The City of Kin-Sai" is just one such exploration, taking the Velvet Underground's riff from "Lady Godiva's Operation" and bringing it up a notch. On this delightful set of complex minimal music that is inviting and satisfying, Exit Stencil Recordings also includes the How I Spent My Vacation EP and other goodies. History and Geography is a revelation that unveils new secrets every time it is played, the kind of homework high-school teachers ought to seriously consider assigning to their students.

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