One of the things you might first notice about this release is the cover art which features a still of a talking penis from the 1989 movie Marquis, which is a rather strange film visually. It’s a live-action film, but all the actors have animal heads and the main character has an ongoing dialog with his talking penis.
The title of this album is Panicsville Plays Panicsville, but I suspect that is a deception as the the marketing for this release states, “Six brand new tracks from Panicsville, to commemorate 25 years of PANICSVILLE.” The lineup on this particular release is Jeremiah Fisher, Anthony Janas, and Andy Ortmann. Based on the information available to me, Ortmann and Fisher have been working together since 2006 and early releases for Panicsville date back to 1996, with the group origin dating back to 1992.
Proceeding into the album, the track titles are somewhat didactic if not punny, and some deliver on this promise. “Dominatrix Printer” begins the album with a presumably plundered erotic narrative that has been duly tortured via audio processing. To complete the joke and the track (spoiler alert) we hear the sounds of a dot-matrix printer!
One of the things I really like about this release is that it is stylistically all over the place but still cohesive, and it still manages to remain wholly experimental. I think with Ortmann, this is something you come to expect with any release, and it is refreshing. In regards to this release, one track contains purloined sources that are spliced and diced while others take on a formal attempt at a foreign exploitation film about satanism and extraterrestrials that have started a motorcycle cult.
While I enjoyed the trip, it is a disjointed one. I can imagine a larger narrative where all the pieces are more connected, but as it stands, Panicsville Plays Panicsville sounds a bit like the needle on the record keeps getting bumped and I’m missing parts of the tracks. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, but I see potential for something bigger and less of a romp through sounds and sounds effects. In terms of content, this release falls somewhere between Nurse with Wound‘s The Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion and Negativland‘s A Big 10-8 Place. It sounds more like Nurse with Wound, but I keep wondering what it would be like if it managed the meandering narrative of A Big 10-8 Place.
Panicsville Plays Panicsville is a fun listen and leaves me wanting to hear more. Will there be a sequel? Will we learn the true meaning of egg? Will the satanic extraterrestrial death cult on wheels find a new home?