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Thuunderboy! Review

by Jesse Jarnow

Thuunderboy! is a curious, curious record, indeed. It is, in fact, composed of a series of recordings of an approximately two-year-old child scratching records and altering their pitches with a speed control -- a young DJ. For a record which might seem decidedly more interesting in theory than in practice, some of the results are quite astonishing. Thuunderboy! (born Ted Conrad) makes some beautiful music, creating several wonderful loops throughout tracks such as "Let My" and "Oh Oh Touch" (created from songs like Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love" and others). On several tracks, he actually plays two turntables, making something of a sonic collage. And all from the hands of a child. The recordings of the two-year-old Conrad were made by his father, Tony Conrad, himself an accomplished avant-garde musician and filmmaker. The results fit in beautifully with the aesthetic espoused by artists like Christian Marclay and even the late John Cage. Of course, the album will also provide more than suitable ammo for the legion of critics who criticize such music for being all talk and no actual substance, music so simple that even a child could make it. And that, perhaps, is just the point of Thuunderboy! -- it is so simple (in terms of technical achievement, anyway) that perhaps only a child, or a truly enlightened adult, could make it. Listening to Thuunderboy! move the needle to repeat sounds, as Steve Dollar writes in the liner notes, "is the pure sound of pop infatuation." Of course, one may also want to throttle somebody by the end of the album.

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