The Flying Luttenbachers

The Truth Is a Fucking Lie

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For anyone familiar at all with the Flying Luttenbachers, it isn't hard to realize that their seventh album, The Truth Is a Fucking Lie, is some kind of concept album, but the concept itself is rather difficult to pin down. The album's title sounds simple enough to begin with, but the statement itself is paradoxical, an absolute masquerading as a non-absolute. This is a function of a deliberate scheme on the part of the album's compiler, Weasel Walter, drummer and ever-present mastermind behind the Luttenbachers. This scheme becomes partially clear after investigating the makeup of the album itself. The recordings that are the basis for the bulk of the album are taken from tapes of live performance at clubs and bars, yet those recordings are not preserved here in their initial, straight-from-the-tape form; they have all been manipulated, in one way or another, by Walter himself. At times, this only means that he has overdubbed moody electronic soundscapes or percussion onto these base tapes. At other points, though, it is readily apparent that he has combined recordings from one performance of one particular lineup of the Luttenbachers with another performance from a completely different incarnation into one piece. This manner of "composing" is very indicative of the state of the Luttenbachers at the time this album was released; the group's membership was in constant flux, stuck somewhere between the Chuck Falzone/William Pisarri anti-rock group and the Michael Colligan/Kurt Johnson free jazz trio. The results of these new arrangements, so to speak, are somewhat mixed; this is mostly due to the fact that the source tapes Walter used are all of varying quality, thus the finished compositions' quality ultimately suffers at times. However, in general, the music itself is excellent and quite different, in some respects, from other Luttenbachers records. The title track is a brilliant, nightmarish journey through freely improvised freakouts; noisy, overdriven noise rock; and bizarrely orchestral passages that leap out like the more turbulent movements in some of Edgard Varese's work, all patched together into a cohesive unit that brings to mind the Residents' Third Reich and Roll (minus the bubblegum pop, of course). The two covers here -- one of Magma's "De Futura," the other of Havohej's "Black Perversion" -- bring to mind styles and idioms (namely, prog rock and gothic metal) not as easily recognized on previous Luttenbachers efforts. There is also a great "Medley" track that showcases the ability of the Falzone/Pisarri lineup to completely reinvent compositions previously recorded with older lineups, turning more boppish, jazz-like compositions into something much more menancing and abjectly dissonant. Overall, this is a fascinating document, a snapshot of a band in transition, something which listeners don't always get to glimpse. It is a vital addition to the discography of a vastly underappreciated band.

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