H.P. Zinker

Mountains of Madness

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AllMusic Review by Martin Walters

One of the early-'90s indie rock scene's most sorely overlooked trios burst onto the scene in 1989 and in quick succession released a string of EPs and albums that were showered in praise from the music press for a couple of years before the band vanished from the circuit. Austrian-born guitarist Hans Platzgumer -- the H.P. in H.P. Zinker -- resurfaced in the electronica world as a top IDM producer later in the '90s. H.P. Zinker's masterwork, Perseverance, was the seed that started the Thrill Jockey label, and remains the group's most well-realized work. The much-hyped Mountains of Madness saw the trio more comfortable in the psychedelic retro-progressive sound that had previously sounded awkward and -- suffice to say in the lo-fi era of the band's peers Pavement, Come, and Dinosaur Jr. -- more than a little sarcastic. The album is filled with so many Southern boogie references and Lynyrd Skynyrd jokes that the group comes across like a Raging Slab for the art rock set. On the highlight cuts "The Shack," "Override," and "Birch," the bandmembers display such instrumental prowess that they must have baffled the post-punk community that embraced H.P. Zinker as the new champion of progressive rock.

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