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Wow! - The Magick Fire Music

Jackie O Motherfucker

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Album Review

The Magick Fire Music/Wow! is a double-disc reissue of two previously out-of-print, vinyl-only releases originally put out by the Fisheye (2000) and Ecstatic Peace (1999) labels, respectively. ATP records, born out the successful music festival series All Tomorrow's Parties, released this collection shortly before it announced that JOMF would headline one night of their Spring 2004 ATP festival, placing them alongside considerably higher profile acts like Stephen Malkmus and Sonic Youth. This, along with a cover spot on Wire, helped bring them up from the underground at least somewhat. Not bad company for a band whose very name is a hindrance toward reaching a broad audience. This collection, however, goes a long way toward making their case, and presents them as a shockingly creative band. There are no real "songs" here to speak of, not in the traditional sense of the word. Nor are there any real riffs or melodies. What there is, is a lot of rumbling, rattling, buzzing, clanking, chiming, and plucking. Somehow though — through pacing, dynamics, and repetition — JOMF create enthralling, long-form music that could very well appeal to listeners outside the avant ghetto. And their music just gets better the larger the dose. The Magick Fire Music constitutes Disc One of this set. The almost 16-minute leadoff track, "Extension," sounds something like Ghost, but with a postmodern, western edge. "Second Ave. 2 AM" is built around a slowly shifting distorted guitar riff, but before long, clanging percussion, distant sax skronking, and a bed of turntable noise creep in, building to a cacophonous but beautifully cathartic climax. Disc Two, Wow!, begins with the band playing in a louder, almost space-rock mode. On "Black Squirrels," heavy distorted guitars ring out almost like something from Spiritualized's bag of tricks. But the 24-minute title track brings things back to a more meditative mood, sounding like Southeast Asia meets Southeast Kentucky, a fiddle weaving through gamelan-like percussion. The set finishes up with a 17-minute sax-led free jazz mantra called "Love Horn." The music here was recorded well before the phrase "New Weird America" started showing up to describe this kind of postmodern electro-acoustic folk jangle, but it proves that JOMF pretty much established what the phrase has come to mean: they could be called the canonical New Weird American band.

Biography

Formed: Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Portland, OR-based improvisational weirdos Jackie-O M**********r filtered numerous musical genres (avant-garde, electronic music, folk, country, world music, spirituals, etc.) through their noisy, psychedelic scrape and grind. Formed by core members Tom Greenwood and Jef Brown, who both contribute to the band on a variety of instruments, Jackie-O M**********r also rely on the contributions of sax players John Flaming and Nester Bucket, drummer Jessie Carrot, guitarist Honey Owens, and multi-instrumentalist...
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Wow! - The Magick Fire Music, Jackie O Motherfucker
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