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I Can Hear the Ants Dancin'

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Album Review

Though George Brigman's mid-'70s LP Jungle Rot remains his most well-known work (albeit very much on a cult level), the material on I Can Hear the Ants Dancin' was recorded not long afterward in 1977, though initially just one single, "Blowin' Smoke"/"Driftin'" (included here), was issued. It's pretty similar in tone to Jungle Rot (with somewhat higher fidelity): anachronistic, raw blues-rock, Brigman's feverish, oft-overheated riffing suggesting a more minimalist, vicious counterpart to the British blues-rock guitar gods of the late '60s and early '70s. While the playing on this oft-instrumental material (some vocals included) is often imaginative, Brigman's more of an instrumentalist than he is a songwriter, as much of this is crowded with riffing that could benefit from more structure and variety. On some tracks, like "Animal Dope," the riffs approach compelling territory; others verge on the repetitious. It's not all standard bludgeoning blues-rock, incidentally; "I Can't Help the Way I Feel" and "Driftin'" go into some jazz-influenced spaciness that might not have been too out of place in San Francisco psychedelia, for instance, and "Jazzma" indeed has some jazzy progressions. Note that while the first nine songs on this CD comprised a 1982 cassette release also titled I Can Hear the Ants Dancin', this disc doubles the length with additional material, including five songs that originally appeared on the 1986 LP Human Scrawl Vagabond; another from a 1985 EP; another from the 1983 various-artists compilation Train to Disaster; and two previously unreleased tracks.

I Can Hear the Ants Dancin', George Brigman and Split
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