No Business

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After their excursion into pure industrial/white noise, Death Sentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak, the Floptops return with another in their irregular but continuing meditations on the nature of copyright, patriotism, and artistic reinterpretation. In that sense No Business is one of the least surprising albums Negativland has yet done, but one entity's repetition is another's source of continuing inspiration, and the end results are familiarly entertaining. It's not much less that this type of approach can be done so much as it is how it is done -- and on that front all is well. From the opening chop-up of the Beatles' "Because," retitled "Old Is New," the sense is that of old pros -- however much they might shy away at the thought -- are once again at their craft. The most pointed and involved piece, the nearly ten-minute long "Downloading," finds the band turning their collective eye once again on music industry paranoia, with everything from disgraced Grammy president Michael Green's self-righteous waffling about the activity's supposed evils, to found sound sources ranging from the BBC to an 'unknown death metal band' (plus previous target The Little Mermaid). Queasy, collapsing about the edges and hilarious, it's a tour de force of sonic chaos and mockery. The other extended effort, "Piece a Pie," takes an old radio drama as the source and turns a scene in a coffee shop into a Sartrean-into-Mobius nightmare. At other points favorites from recent live performances take a bow -- "Favorite Things" takes "The Sound of Music" -- Julie Andrews signature number -- and with careful editing makes her praise such odd concepts as "schnitzel on roses" and "ponies in dresses." In a similar vein, the title track takes two versions of the Ethel Merman classic "There's No Business Like Show Business" -- the original and the bizarro late-'70s disco remake -- to create a collage where Merman appears to happily praise theft of all sorts.

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