CD by Kurt Otto
|EXPRESS-NEWS, San Antonio, Texas, Friday, Oct. 3, 1997
Night Lights by Jim Beal, Jr.
Before there was "Electronica" music, there was Kurt Otto.
Heck, before most of the people making electronica were glimmers in their parents eyes, Kurt Otto, Mike Taylor, and their musical cohorts, which include Claude Morgan, Albert Garcia, and Gary Friedrich, were making music that ranged from experimental to traditional.
For keyboardist, etc. Otto and bassist, sound tech, etc. Taylor, the experimental, which includes the use of whatever electronic gear fits the project, usually wins out over the traditional.
An Otto/Taylor/friends collaboration, an album called CHURCH OF MACHINES will be unveiled tonight at Wong's Art Bar, 1203 E. Commerce St., across the tracks from St. Paul's square.
OnCHURCH OF MACHINES, Otto, a veteran of Claude Morgan and the Blast and other aggregations, and Taylor, last seen twisting PA knobs at the defunct Back Stage Barbecue, and their accomplices do everything from rock with synthesizers to groove-oriented R&B to old-fashioned weirdness.
When you pick up an album with tracks such as PUNKYDOODLE SUCKA, THANKQGOODNITE, and EVERYBODY LIKES MY COWBOY HAT, you can be relatively certain that the players aren't mining plain vanilla.
SAN ANTONIO CURRENT,
Received the new release, CHURCH OF MACHINES, from veteran San Antonio sideman and session musician Kurt Otto. Seems Otto, who is perhaps best known for his work with Claude Morgan and the Blast through most of the 80's, has been holed up in the studio for most of this decade with partner Mike Taylor, slaving over new music now being released on the duo's indy label FTW Records. Taylor is a bass player and studio whiz who engineered and produced the first two Butthole Surfers' albums.
Otto says his new CD relies heavily on new music technology, hence the title, but most of the songs fall in the category of "socially acceptable rock", except for SNITCH, a track he says is raising eyebrows wherever it is heard. Also heard on the album are contributions from Otto's music friends Claude Morgan, saxophonist Albert Garcia, and guitarist Steve Wisnoski, among others.
Otto will be performing live and selling the CD at various performances this month at Wong's Art Bar, 1203 E. Commerce in St. Paul's Square and other places he's promised to keep me appraised of. Also, be on the watch for Otto's FTW label to unleash some retrospective releases of live and studio recordings from Claude Morgan and the Blast
The following review is by Doc, the Internet mastermind behind UNSPEAKABLY STUPID STORIES, AMISH RAKE FIGHT and DOC'S CHAT SOUNDS. Doc also writes for DENIZINE, and does his own music, which can be heard at DOC'S MUSIC. Doc is not only a knowledgeable synthesizer guy, he's also a damn good writer.
Heya Kurt, Well, Splendid! Now that I have listened to CHURCH OF MACHINES like a dozen or more times, I feel qualified to review it. Here goes.
CRACKBABY - A knock down drag out rawkin' hit. Great hook, wonderful vocal samples, and just offensive enough that I love it.
THE NAMELESS ONE - Great keyboard work, and the verse provides another great hook.
PUNKYDOODLE SUCKA - A cuter-than-shit motif topped with hilariously threatening lyrics. Chorus contains another great hook.
BUTTERCUP 1 & 2 - A truly charming suite containing a funky love song wrapped in that Otto-style weirdness, enhanced by Albert Garcia's vocals.
EVERYBODY LIKES MY COWBOY HAT - Cute and mildly threatening, as you might expect from the title. Funny lyrics. Wonderful ZZ Top influence.
REVOLUTION - A killer rhythm track throughout featuring a really hairy keyboard sound, and some beautifully crafted vocal samples in the break make this an ass-kicker ("Everybody do what I say!").
SNITCH - Boy, am I glad I'm not whomever this song is about. Kurt does the rap thing at the expense of some female I don't want to meet.
FOOL - More funk, this time with really wonderful vocals and a monster hook in the chorus.
HARD2BELIEVE - Excellent keyboard melody built around a cool vocal sample. The perfect lead-in for the next song.
BIG FAT LIAR - Black Sabbath returns, and they've gone high-tech!
THANKQGOODNITE - Effectively built around a sequence of samples like my favorite part of "REVOLUTION", then a female vocal sample brings on a pronounced mood of sadness, turning to strangeness. Very cool.
SORRY, BABE - Bizarre verse and beautiful, sad chorus remind me that the CD is almost over. Damn.
PROBABLE CAUSE - Remember the shitty and unimaginative techno music they played at the end of the Dragnet movie? They should have played this instead. Hilarious vocal samples on a mildly techno rhythm track delivered with a Jack Webb style seriousness.
Well, that's about it, dude, I love the damn thing.
The following is a review from Donie, AKA Cyber