John’s Heart – Lick my Decals Off, Baby review by Tom Clark

This oddity was written in 1972, published by Goliard / Santa Fe in association with Grossman Publishers.

The broom tongue on The Buggy Boogie Woogie evidently has whisk-fringes. The alchemist-shaman-genius-wizard-freak-medicine man is always a fringe figure. Never part of the conventional social structure. In order to listen to the shuttling, whispering ancient language of energy (long faint sighs across the millennia) you have to shut out the gray noise of the market place. Unglue the lids of the nuclei and release the pure white phosphene stuff inside.

“Music” is form. At the higher levels of energy, beyond even the electronic, there is no form. Form is pure energy limiting itself. Form is error. A forest creature approaches the protein vats. He dips his spoon in and slops up prophetic credentials.

The clusters of notes are like pulsing electron grids imbedded with Van Allen Belt movies. I guess it’s metal music. The earth is a core of molten metals, covered by a thin layer of slime (soft, vulnerable organic tissue). Metal is good. It performs its own technical function. Metal has individuality, soul. Plastic copies the form of plant, mineral, metal, flesh, but has no soul. Androids are plasticised citizens who carry themselves like wallet-size replicas of Captain Beefheart robotisation moves. The title track of this album is a plea for lingual relief front plastic decalcomania.

Beefheart’s sonic poles are entomological / archeological. Numb metalloid drones contain scrapings of bone-mealy lemur tongues and cool dinosaur rock modules (Smithsonian Institute Blues or The Big Dig), contrapuntal tarpit anthems to our fanged ancestors (Petrified Forest), plus generally atonal insect-agony amid high-class Bug Music even invaded by those broom tongues I mentioned earlier (The Buggy Boogie Woogie). All this sounds best listened to over Sennheiser headphones. The earpieces are foam rubber not plastic and that’s important for picking up all ambient muzaks here, for instance the kitchen zinc smelt reference 1:34 into Japan in a Dishpan.

The only person I know who buys records wouldn’t buy this one (I got my copy free). But that’s OK. Captain Beefheart is probably more famous on Venus than Stan Kenton ever was, already.

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