Minor Imperfections

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They come in sleek black sleeves with nothing but the most essential of liner note information, meaning the pure message on a Brax-tone release from Sweden is the music itself. That being the case, and there being a lot of these little buggers sliding out a box of recently acquired booty, some of the stack can be safely handed over to minions known in the music business as "reactors." Unlike the nuclear facilities with which they better not be confused, these astute observers will hardly cause a problem on the level of Chernobyl if they do their job poorly. So a swamped music critic can feel good in turning certain contributions over for these informative reactions, the distraction and/or responsibility of studying liner notes or program booklets neither necessary nor possible.

Like the expression "from hell," the amusing term "brainville" must have originated with someone's great-grandfather in upstate Michigan. Most of the references in modern music can be assumed to be Sun Ra tributes, however, since his tune of the same name is one of his most famous compositions, even showing up in the early non-legal version of The Real Book. At least two bands have made recordings under the name Brainville, of which the Swedish one responsible for Brax-tone's Minor Imperfections is the more obscure. Interestingly enough, one of the reactor's notes, a typically wry blend of musician references and unjustified innuendo, reads as follows: "Bassline enters, loud electric bass, it sounds like Kramer waiting on his hash connection." Kramer, along with some ex-members of the bands Gong and Soft Machine, were members of the other Brainville.

"Small crash with two cars, everything settled peacefully," the reactor's notes to the first audit of Minor Imperfections begins. This first set of notes is about a third the length of the second; in checking the reactor's notations for accuracy it was concluded that this entire performance doesn't seem to make much of an impression the first time out. Perhaps two-thirds of the way through there is an effect like gamelan music of Indonesia, except with the gong and keyboard percussion orchestra having gone berserk. This and the final track's unavoidable likeness to Tibetan and other ethnic musical styles -- through Jan Rishedan's use of instruments such as zurna and snake charmer -- are time-consuming if not entirely unpleasant examples of this Brainville's ability to approximate the easiest to imitate world music styles.

The reactor's second set of notes includes depressing results of the common "second listen to first track" test, in which the participant of the experiment is forced to see if there is anything at all that can be recalled about the first track moments after listening to it for the second time. With this Brainville effort nothing at all came to the reactor's mind despite the fact that the reactor had actually reacted, (i.e. made the comparison to a small car crash, the first time around). In fairness, a later episode described as "slower with cheesy repeated sound" sparked the revelation that the first track did indeed have something to remember about it after all, more solid in rhythmic thrust the second time around. The basslines made more of an impact on this second, most logically an indication of possible deafness on the part of the reactor. Other comments from the second set of reactions may have potential as point-of-sale hype: "Carnival of Souls organ -- dentist's office at end -- third serving of quiche -- a burglar choking."

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