R. Stevie Moore

Pathos/Pioneer Paramus

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    5
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Released in 1982, Pathos starts out slowly, with a stretch of songs that sound a little too similar, but once it picks up steam, it's one of R. Stevie Moore's most enjoyably quirky outings of the early '80s. It's certainly wide-ranging, jumping from a found-sound description of how cassettes and four-track recorders were going to jump-start the D.I.Y. home recording revolution (which turned out to be true) to "My Name Is John," a tape of some child babbling and singing songs off the top of his head into a cassette recorder, to which Moore added musical backing, to "Keep Busy," an entirely credible early white-guy rap. The highlight is "I Thought I Loved You," a lengthy instrumental featuring a mandolin-like lead guitar part and some nearly inaudible, ghostly vocals. The CD version of Pathos is paired with Pioneer Paramus, a selection of songs, mostly instrumentals, in a variety of styles recorded around the same time. As always, Moore writes some of the most interesting instrumentals around -- there's a fascinatingly sparse dub-style exploration called "Song for Mother" on Pathos -- but too many of these sound like sketches waiting for a vocal melody and some beefed-up instrumentation. The main exception is one of the few vocal tracks, the incantatory "Customers," which sounds like a cross-breeding experiment between David Byrne and the Residents.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:43
2 3:33
3 0:48
4 5:37
5 3:09
6 1:10
7 1:17
8 3:39
9 1:49
10 0:39
11 3:06
12 4:15
13 3:29
14 6:11
15 3:31
16 3:46
17 2:09
18 3:09
19 4:49
20 2:44
21 2:02
22 4:08
23 2:54
24 0:46
25 1:54
26
1:30
27 6:20
28 3:45
29 1:17
30 2:36
31 5:32
32 5:04
33 2:30
34 2:16
35 4:07
36 2:44
37 1:45
38 1:58
39 2:44
40 2:40
41 2:34
42 3:56
43 5:20
44 2:07
45 1:57
46 4:11
47 2:22
48 1:58
49 3:19
50 1:43
blue highlight denotes track pick