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The Roots of Madness 

The Girl in the Chair

Wednesday, Jun 1 2005
The Roots of Madness were a group of teenage 'heads from the early '70s who attended Leigh High School in San Jose. Their LP of full-blown psychedelic freakery was locally released around 1970 and descended into hyperobscurity, until now. It's a reissue so totally needed because this music is such a stinky, boiling stew of fractured blues, primitive electronics, free jazz, and scatological spoken word, given an excessively potent kick from heaping doses of juvenile "hormonage" and some serious drug consumption. It opens with "Réalisation II" (they apparently skipped right over "Réalisation I"), which is a fierce, 11-minute crescendo of maniacally tinkling bells, gray blasts of shortwave radio, walkie-talkie gobbledygook, feedback, freely stabbing percussion, a chorus of throat-shredding howls, and pig-squealing horns. And that's just a warm-up for the real freaky shit, such as "The Old Man's Ass," wherein this incensed voice chants such anally obsessed verse as "The old man's wretched ass ... Grown nonfunctional with constipated eons of nonuse ... And the old man's crack? Watery, jelly skin dripping through fingers ... Turning the hills of youth into a canyon. A canyon eroded by venereal shankers and fiery and proud hemorrhoids." Amen for gratuitously disgusting weirdness.

About The Author

Justin F. Farrar


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