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Album Review

The Tower Recordings' frenetic mix of found sounds, samples, tape manipulation, and repetitive instrumentation on Folk Scene would probably prove to be too demanding for most listeners. Conceived as a record in the tradition of English folk-rock of decades past, the album is filled with far more insanity and urgent monotony then one would expect from folk, and is really much more of an experimental endeavor. That said, though hardly listenable for pure entertainment, Folk Scene does offer unique exercises in pushing the limits of genre. Acoustic guitars drone through surprisingly cohesive songs ("Atrocity Jukebox"), sputtering vocals overlap into bizarre, psychedelic time warps ("I Didn't Know That Hadji Smoked/ID Can Hear the Magic Spring"), and Far Eastern sounds meander over trippy rhythms ("Harmengi: The Tower Becomes a Sun"). Although it's probably the perfect set of atmospherics for some film, Folk Scene is unlikely to impress all but the most adventurous listener, and those curious about experimental music that questions the very identity of rock & roll should listen to a Zoviet France album.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The New York-based Tower Recordings debuted in 1995 with the self-released Rehearsals for Roseland Circa '95, a sprawling 28-song set highlighting their eclectic. noisy sound and tape-manipulation aesthetic. The following year, the group -- comprised of multi-instrumentalists Matthew R. "M.V." Valentine, Helen Rush, PG Six, Spanish Wolfmann, Robert Henry Jones III, and S. Freyer, Esq. -- returned with Fraternity of Moonwalkers,...
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Folkscene, Tower Recordings
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