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Music Review -- Man... or Astroman? -- Reported 1998-12-03 00:53 by Daemon Agent
Man Or Astroman?
Clone Project Alpha
Inital Test Tour
Saturday, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
@ The Bottom of the Hill

Okay, the first question you should be asking yourself is, "Who the hell are Man or Astroman?" Well, that's a damn good question. What I know is that they are some damn fine musicians. What I don't know is where exactly they come from (though they are currently based in Atlanta, GA so they can be near James Brown). Oh, and did I neglect to mention that they are from Outer Space?

So let's start with the "easy" part. What's their music like? Well, it's most easily described as "surf", but it's some of the craziest surf music that has ever been created on (or off) this planet. I mean, when you think of surf, you generally think of lots of straight ahead, 4/4 boom-shack drumming, with reverbed out "big guitars", and 16th note basslines underneath. Well, Man Or Astroman? has a little bit of that, but those brief moments are well burried within their flurry of psychotic time signatures, manic guitar lines, and weird electronic bleeps and bloops.

So I had never seen this band play, though I had become familiar with their music over the years (they've been producing music on this planet since the early 90s), and when I finally got off my ass to see one of their legendary live shows...well I was in for a surprise.

Okay, I had heard enough to expect a few things. Glowing video and computer monitors transmitting alien messages, pseudo-millitary space gear, flaming televisions on people's heads, and a giant satellite dish to beam the data being collected back to their homeworld. And if I was lucky, a Tesla coil. What I didn't expect was that I would not see the actual Astromen themselves, that night I would be seeing one of the first of a series of Clone Projects.

You see, the Astromen have been working for years on a way to allow themselves the freedom to spend endless hours in the studio, and still be able to tour. The Clone Project allows them to do both...at the same time.

So we, one of the test subject audience groups, were informed at the beginning of the set that what we were about to witness was the fruition of a 5 year project...Clone Project Alpha.

  BirdStuff = DorkStuff 

		       Dexter X	 = Dexter Y 

		       CoCo      = CoCoid 

		       StarCrunch = ChromoCrunch

		

For this noble experiment the DNA of the Man or Astroman? had been broken down and carefully studied. Then the information gathered from this was used to create nearly perfect clones of the Astromen. These clones were then taken to Zero Return Studios and trained endlessly by the Astromen till the clones could recreate a Man or Astroman? live show experience (no easy task by any account). After the training was complete, the only thing left was to put the clones to the test. And we, the audience, were part of that test. I would say that the clones passed with flying colors.

That night, I was treated to almost 2 hours worth of selections from the impressive Man or Astroman? discography. And I gotta say, GODDAMN! Did they do a good job training those clones or what? There were a few "rough spots" in the set, some of the songs weren't quite there yet (most noticably the ones with the weirdest time signatures). But all in all, it was a damn good show. And I take my hat off to those clones for having the balls to get up on stage and tackle some fairly difficult music in front of a crowd that wasn't all too thrilled to find out that they weren't going to see the "real" Man or Astroman? In fact, you could tell the clones were kind of pissed off by the amount of ridicule they had to endure that night, not only from the crowd, but from the Astromen themselves, who were monitoring the experiment remotely and poking jabs at the clones between songs.

But you know what, I think I enjoyed that show more knowing that I was part of such a noble experiment. And when Clone Project Gamma (the all female Man or Astroman? clone project) rolls around. I'll be there.

 

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

iambic@pigdog.org


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