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Negativland Presents Over the Edge, Vol. 7 - Time Zones Exchange Project

Negativland

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Album Review

The seventh volume of Negativland's Over the Edge series, entitled Time Zones Exchange Project, marked the downfall of the former Soviet Union. The disc is edited entirely from radio broadcasts between 1989 and 1992. The focus of this double-CD set is on the fictitious Howland Island, where a time warp is created in the future to alter the Soviet Union of the past into a free-market nation. A character named C. Eliot Friday and his company Universal Media Netweb are central to the saga. Friday also owns the patent on Mertz, an imaginary drug that helps you make up your mind. Friday's goal throughout the disc is to teach the people of the Soviet Union to learn the ways of a free market, so he can exploit them in the future. More than two hours of audio collages offer mock investigative reporting about Friday, a call-in U.S./Soviet talk-radio show, and the selling of Mertz to the Soviets. This, and the other discs in the Over the Edge series, are, in the end, quality radio drama in the Orwellian tradition. The "Testwave" broadcasts on the second disc were aimed at, as the group called it, "planting the seeds of free market thinking." Testwave is the broadcast manifestation of Time Zones Exchange Project, pointing to the massive size of the U.S.S.R., which spanned 11 time zones. The collection includes 17 tracks of scattered and pieced-together audio experiments marking the historic end of the Soviet superpower. In the end, this is social commentary on the priorities of the United States. The result is a continually engaging, and often disturbing, presentation. Russian language assistance on the disc was performed by Taras Titarenenko. With the tongue-in-cheek help of "Radio Moscow," various Russian musicians, and numerous anonymous callers, the broadcasts became a landmark moment of, as the band puts it, "cultural transference." The radio programs on Time Zones Exchange Project originally aired on KPFA in Berkeley, CA, on the Over the Edge program.

Biography

Formed: 1979 in Berkeley, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Some will always say that practical jokers should expect retribution at some point. Others may note that within any joke there is some human truth. Still others will just want to enjoy the jokes as jokes and nothing more. Three differing statements, all valid truths when applied to one of America's most curious, clever, and inventive bands in the last 20 years of the 20th century and beyond, Negativland. Though named after a track by cult Krautrock band Neu!, who also inadvertently provided the moniker...
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