The Secret of Comedy

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Bongwater man Kramer fell silent for a period after the release of his monumental eclectic rock opera, The Guilt Trip, but reappeared during the mid-'90s, releasing oddball collaborations with Daevid Allen and a string of solo recordings of high merit in the postmodern pop world -- albeit a world that he was responsible for inventing with his Shimmy Disc label during its heyday in the early '90s. His signature on literally hundreds of indie rock albums (Galaxie 500, Luna, King Missile, and Damon & Naomi all bore the Kramer stamp) is a reverb-drenched psychedelic atmosphere that references the '60s golden era of tape echo and vari-speed effects. However, the unique sound he achieves as a producer never sounds as good as it does on his own recordings, such as this self-produced collection of stripped-back folk ditties. This time out, he presents listeners not with Kramer the idiosyncratic guitar prankster but with Kramer the folksinger, telling autobiographical blues on the misgivings of life as an indie rock producer/legend. The Secret of Comedy contains some of his best material since the glory days of Bongwater -- a must for Shimmy Disc fans.

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