(Edgetone)

Doctor Bob is the alien-wailing duo of Bob Marsh (cello, vocals) and David Michalak (lap steel guitar), with Karen Stackpole offering her percussive shoulder in six tracks. “Dark times” seems to be the perfect soundtrack to highlight the wrecked neuronal circuits of many people’s cerebrum in this age of total absence of values. Marsh treats both his instrument and voice with heavy doses of pitch shifting and other assorted effects, which renders the “songs” even more absurd, but wholly gorgeous as a psychedelic experience. Liquescent lights and qualmish chordal wavering are generated by a seesaw-like oscillation between Marsh’s strolling manipulations and Michalak’s roasting reminiscences, launching the music towards galactic dark alleys that smell like rotten fish, inhabited by strange characters who tell their stories with angelic voice that morphs into a distorted rasp or fuses with the processed strings. After a while, our being is literally screaming for some measure of relief amidst all this harmonic instability – but isn’t life more meaningful when there are difficult problems to solve? Collision seems to be the key word here, the music reaching levels of acceptability that, for the casual listener, could approach the absolute zero. It’s certainly the zaniest thing that I’ve heard in 2007 and one of those records that one should always keep handy to end unnecessary relationships and destroy any concept of negotiation with neighbours (“Tell your kids to shut the fuck up or I’ll play Doctor Bob all night long!”).

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