MCMS: 1997-2000

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Underground American label Last Visible Dog's home band, MCMS, has released a handful of albums during its relatively brief and episodic existence, all of which were available in very limited prints. This three-CD set (including member Matt Silcock's extensive and casual liner notes) delivers the facts, sets the record straight, and salvages a lot of material, from the group's first session up to its next-to-last album. 1997-2000 favors a chronological order, which means that the best music comes last. Before reaching the bliss of disc three, the listener goes through moments of average outsider improv, embarrassing experiments, and occasional gems. Disc one features all of the 1998 album MCMS 3 (first released as a CD-R by Last Visible Dog), plus excerpts from the debut effort Factory in Heaven (also on LVD) and sophomore Festum Asinorum (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon). These are crude experiments between Silcock, LVD owner Chris Moon, and Steve Rolfsmeier. Paint cans, guitar, sax, and cheap electronics are used to create homemade psychedelia. There are interesting moments, namely in "For the Love of Lucy, Wherever I May Find It" and the opening "Lemmy Kilmeister Getting Kicked Out of Hawkwind," but this disc is for the completist or devoted fan. Disc two is the complete reissue of the 1999 eponymous album (also known as MCMS 4 or The Album of Love, released by LVD), and this one is a keeper. The music features more confident musicianship, better-focused ideas, and a much stronger sense for the drone. "Dean Thompson, Killer of the Living" and "The Two Broken into One" stand out. But it all pales in comparison to disc three, which presents MCMS's 30-minute contribution to a split Celebrate Psi Phenomenon release with Yermo and excerpts from the 2000 album The Great Golden Hive of the Invisible (first released by Eclipse as a two-LP set). Here, the group members (minus Rolfsmeier, plus Kris Lapke) have become masters of the stretched-out psychedelic improv. The sax is also out, replaced by a bigger arsenal of basic electronics. "The Womb That Gives Birth to Itself" (the split-CD track) is a memorable piece of ego-fusing drone. MCMS is not one of those highly influential, cult underground groups. It was only a bunch of friends getting together about once a year to jam. And it just so happens that some of those jams, especially the later ones, are worth listening to.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:01
2 5:52
3 1:34
4 10:42
5 9:03
6 7:20
7 10:18
9 2:39
10 7:50
11 7:09
12 3:26
13 12:45
14 3:50
16 5:27
17 8:53
18 4:02
19 8:16
20 6:41
21 6:00
23 7:58
24 31:41
25 18:06
26 11:34
27 9:03
blue highlight denotes track pick