The Stinking Badger of Java is more an anomaly, or a phenomenon, or maybe a freak of nature, than a band. Actually, it is a loose collective (à la Elephant 6) of various Australian musicians/songwriters/poets with a convoluted history full of twists, turns, and alterations, all honing and solidifying the band's intriguing sense of songcraft and art. The group that would morph into the Stinking Badger of Java was formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1991, as Fetishes, by the songwriting duo of Paul J. Narkiewicz (vocals, guitar, piano, bass, percussion) and Brigitte Corbett (vocals, bass, guitar, percussion, piano). They recorded and released two lo-fi cassette EPs (1993's self-funded Ghost of the Flea and 1996's Herbicide or Pesticide on Yippie Bean) and a compilation album (Incestuous, in 1994) under this handle with various other bandmembers. The Stinking Badger of Java metamorphosis occurred in 1996. The experimental and classical influences of Narkiewicz and Corbett led them to eventually add classically trained virtuoso Alessandro Servadei (French horn, melodica, percussion, mellophonium, contrabass harmonica, piano) and cellist Susannah Provan, as well as the spoken word performer Thomas Bollinger (who also contributes guitar, drums, percussion, and organ). They released the cassette EP Too Intelligent on Yippie Bean in 1997, and the CD/video single "Chronikl Sin" (Yippie Bean, 1998), before coming up with their debut full-length, If It's Fetishes You're After..., also on Yippie Bean (and M&E in the U.K.) in 1998. The album is the culmination of eight years of the Corbett/Narkiewicz songwriting partnership, and that experience is obvious in the assuredly skewed tunes. With influences that range from pop/rock and folk to jazz and classical (or, as the band themselves put it, "from Patsy Biscoe to Mr. Bungle"), and with the band always experimenting with new sounds and instruments, the songs range from loopy to breathtaking, serious to tongue-in-cheek, but are always exceptional and unique.
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