The GoaTease: Chain Tape Cassette Edition
dirtyvinylcollecting May 20, 2018
When it comes to established genres and styles, it can be a little difficult to pin The GoaTease down.
They aren't a "noise band" per se, but their releases generally exist somewhere in between the noise rock and art rock.
From album to album their recorded material ranges from abstract noodling to fully realized conceptual pieces, and everything in between. On "Chain Tape", several tracks (they aren't traditional pop songs, after all) are either sketchy, pseudo-cover versions of classic songs from the pop and rock radio of the 1960s and 1970s, or dubbed-out studio fuckery ("Raindrops Part 1 of 3") collages of the same. Rendering pop songs in this way may appeal to those who enjoy traditional art rock (or the "difficult music" which emerged from the Mail Art and cassette culture of the 1970s), but it may be intentionally weird and off-putting to square listeners.
An experimental approach is employed throughout, and it isn't as an old friend put it: "The experiment is to see if this will SELL!" In fact, I have no doubt that when it comes to selling units The GoaTease doesn't give a damn.
Throughout its sprawling ninety minutes (!), The GoaTease Chain Tape is absolutely characteristic of the band's approach to both modern conceptual art and music. As on their most recent CD ("D'TOCEAM"), the listener may have a sense that the band is composing music for an imaginary film. To this end, some tracks (again — not traditional pop songs) work very well, evoking either a dimly-lit, smoky back room or a daylight street scene, from one moment to the next.
On the other hand, some tracks seem to be half finished, and still others seem like nothing more than a very elaborate inside joke.
In this latter respect, there's a LOT of audio verite and Musique concrète going on, and The GoaTease employ everything from videogame sounds to dialogue clipped from obscure movies or educational films, to "cassette tapes". As someone who was once fond of employing the latter, it is very noticeable, even when the snippets and "samples" have been cleaned up through modern (digital) studio techniques and digitization, and looped throughout the track. For instance, one track features a single person reciting a sort of monologue, while another features a conversation between several people (even though only one voice is prominent) recorded in an art gallery or coffee shop. In the first instance the speech is intentionally slowed, while in the second the conversation has been sped-up, almost to the point of being unrecognizable (or not understandable). In any case, the overall effect (especially as context is lacking) is that the dialogue / words are rendered as an audio texture, rather than as a strictly lyrical, contextual element to the "song." This is either engaging (if one is a disaffected art school grad or "hipster"), off-putting (if one believes the technique is merely an inside joke and thus lost upon them), or worse if one actually believes that there's a joke being played ON them, by the band. This latter is brought into question on "Check Me Out Dude", which is little more than a voicemail (or answering machine) message looped several times, with some accompanying instrumentation.
When it comes to conceptual or even "difficult" music, The GoaTease straddle a lot of familiar territory. Sometimes it borders on uncomfortable, but generally it's just plain off-beat and intentionally weird. It may also strike some listeners as being derivative of more well-known artists in these less pop-friendly borders realms, and in that sense even the band might someday plead guilty.
Overall, this very long listen is worthwhile, and recommended for people who like epic length noodling, arty smartiness, and genuinely off-beat sound stylings created by musicians channeling their inner, frustrated pop star and/or noise rocker.
The GoaTease: Mortgaging the Farm (Flaming Flatulence, FF3 CD)
Signal to Noise
This 28 song disc is packed-full of song snippets and sonic weirdness. It'd be difficult to describe these tracks as "songs," due to their random, improvisational nature. Most of the cuts are little more than a sample, drum-machine and occasional guitar. The pieces continue for a random amount of time, without changes, until they fade away. Some of it is interesting, (the Chipmunks-like samples and tepid, muzak chord progressions of "Jazz"), but it's difficult to get any real worth from the disc. "Brooks Veriline 100" is an honest-to-goodness pop song, with distorted vocals and acoustic guitar, but it's kind are the minority. But hell, the album's free, so might as well give it a shot. GoaTease info is available at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/goatease
The GoaTease: Chain Tape
Demorama, July, 2002
This CD has an inane little gimmick: it is not merely a CD, but a "chain tape" (only it's not a tape, but you get the picture). The poor hapless schmuck who gets burdened with this CD (me) is urged to send seven copies to people -- otherwise they will be burdened with BAD LUCK. Oh no! Also enclosed is a list of "THIRTEEN THINGS THAT WILL ENHANCE YOUR LISTENING ENJOYMENT", but in lieu of reprinting it I will just make up my own list -- THIRTEEN THINGS THAT RUINED MY LISTENING ENJOYMENT: 1) The band is on a label called "Flaming Flatulence." You do not want to see their logo. Trust me. 2) The CD starts out with the band covering the theme from the cartoon Jem, only replacing "Jem" with "Goatease." They also sound more effeminate than Jem and the Holograms. 3) Everything about this CD seems calculated to annoy the bejeezus out of the listener. This is probably why most of the songs are less than two minutes, because they'd just get skipped past after a minute or two anyways. 4) When they ditch the stupid grating Casio gimmick and actually start sounding like they might be performing a decent straightforward song (i.e. "And To The Shoes"), the singer pipes in with a horrific combination of crap vocals and also-crap lyrics. (ibid: "We're all prisoners in this house of Cheddar", sung like Mark Mallman imitating Ethel Merman... the hell?) 5) Electronically altered chipmunk voices. GOD NO. 6) Poorly-played banjo. VERY poorly-played banjo. AND TUNE THE DAMN THING YOU MORONS. 7) Incompetent sample-based noise experiments. Think Negativland trapped in a Port-o-san. 8) A horribly forced "OH WE ARE SO WACKY AND NON-SEQUITORIAL AND ZAPPA-ESQUE" song structure and lyrical bent. Locusts with Jane Fonda faces burrowing into your kneecaps? BAD SHROOMS MAN. 9) "Cute" instruments. The aforementioned banjo, a toy whistle... there's probably a kazoo in there, too, though I wasn't brave enough to listen to the whole demo to find out. 10) Smirky inclusion of song snippets by AC/DC and Van Halen as an ostensible parody of "meathead rock" or whatever these stupid fucking dorks call it -- too bad hearing bits of "Running With the Devil" is the only pleasure I got from this CD. 11) Masturbatory percussion. I don't mean Keith Moon going batshit with drum rolls and the like; I mean a three year-old banging on pots and pans randomly with a tire iron and calling it "art." Please, stop it. 12) "Noise" tracks. "Dude, let's record the sound of a Garden Weasel running across a rusty sheet of aluminum!" Bastards. 13) The single worst cover of a James Brown song EVER, combining pretty much every single element I've already discussed. The Godfather of Soul says "Goatease, eat my shit! Good god!" This CD is thirty tracks long. It has a running time of 79 minutes, 55 seconds. It is prominently labeled "DO NOT ACCEPT MONEY FOR THIS ALBUM. IT CONTAINS UNCLEARED SAMPLE MATERIAL AND IS ILLEGAL TO SELL", which means I probably won't get anything for it at Cheapo. It actually caused physical pain to my eardrums. If I actually followed the instructions on the back of this CD and sent it to seven different people I would make seven different enemies faster than you can say "sonic venereal disease," and that's not my idea of good luck by a long shot. In short: NOT ONLY IS THIS IS THE SINGLE WORST DEMO I HAVE EVER REVIEWED IN MY FOUR-YEAR TENURE WITH DEMORAMA, THIS IS THE WORST ALBUM I HAVE HEARD IN MY LIFE AND I HATE GOATEASE FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER DAMN IT. Worst of the motherfucking worst and don't you forget it. (Nate Patrin)