NON

Pagan Muzak

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Pagan Musak was a brilliant concept album at the time of its original release in 1978, a 7" record housed in a 12" sleeve, playable at any speed, with nothing but 17 locked grooves on one side and a groove with no sound on the other. The record also had an extra spindle hole, drilled off-center by Non's Boyd Rice himself since the manufacturing plant refused, theoretically doubling the permutations of various sounds. As the grandfather to all those other locked-groove records -- like the various-artist compilations RRR-500 and LockERS, Toydeath's Locked Grouves, and the multitude of vinyl out of Cologne, Germany -- Pagan Musak still holds up well, even if it lacks the quantity of locked grooves that many of these other albums boast. The 17 grooves are mostly noisy tones and drones and clanks of an industrial nature, with lots of distortion, some of them quite irritating, though most of them become quite mesmerizing and hypnotic after repetitive cycles. You can't get too much more minimal than a record playing the same bit over and over every two seconds or less. Unfortunately, the recent Mute reissue from 1999 doesn't have the extra axis hole, though another Non release at that time, the 7" single "Solitude," not only had an extra off-centered hole, but several locked grooves on the B-side as well, not to mention the fact that it's being sold at the price of a single, whereas Pagan Musak is a 7" record in an LP-sized sleeve sold at the price of an LP.

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