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Release Info: THE LAND OF GUILT & BLARNEY-MUGGED BY LIFE, TAPE, 1992 + CRUEL, TAPE, 2000 + UNUSUAL, TAPE, 2000, USA
The work of two stalwarts of the 80's/90's experimental cassette network, The Land Of Guilt & Blarney was the brainchild of uber-networker, Audiofile label head and Nomuzic leader Carl Howard in collaboration with one Louis Boone, now sadly deceased and whose legacy this multiple album share of theirs is intended to celebrate.
Cruel and Unusual came out as tapes circa 2000 and were latterly issued as CDR's alongside their first early 90's recordings, Mugged By LIfe. There's a flood of material here to take in, much of it very fine indeed, with some distinct overtones of both Steve Thomsen and later Randy Greif in evidence here, and which is probably best tackled chronologically in order to get inside their approach to sound crafting. I'll leave it to Carl himself to spell out the particulars from here:
Somewhere at the intersection of experimental electronic music, jazz, space rock and industrial music lay THE LAND OF GUILT AND BLARNEY - recordings by rotating members of a house in Jersey City, NJ before its alleged real estate renaissance, and just before the onset of 9/11 when the United States officially became a breeding ground for cultural and corporate fascism. All members had been in and out of the country's premier space rock band ALIEN PLANETSCAPES, and all were heavily informed by musicians ranging from DEVO to Sun Ra, from Miles to Coltrane, from The Nice to XTC, from Genesis to Yes, and from Hawkwind to Gong... and back again.
Its regular members included Carl "NOMUZIC" Howard and Louis "Professor Electron" Boone who were also manstays in the space rock vehicle BORN TO GO, known for their onstage twin displays of syntheisizer pyrotechnics at bargain basement prices. Reginald Taylor was an additional LG&B regular, and guests included LG Mair, Jr., Blaise Siwula, Kenny Brown, and Renard Hines. Even Alan Rider of the 1980s UK underground cassette label Adventures In Reality guested on one track.
"Mugged By Life" was recorded in 1992 when the members lived in a ramshackle and spectacularly tumble-down Victorian home in an area of Jersey City heavily impacted by both poverty and the prevailing crack epidemic. It is commemorated in the track "This Mold House" and made great use of a disastrously broken down upright piano in its living room. Many of LG&B's track titles are scarcely-coded references to Sun Ra, to Charles Mingus, to DEVO, to the participants themselves, or to popular U.S. political conspiracy theories. "Cruel" and "Unusual" were recorded concurrently in 2000 in a different house with a different feel and a different karma. Both Boone and Howard were members of BORN TO GO at this time. LG&B performed live twice, but the recordings of these shows were of less than presentable quality.
Carl Howard has been the publisher of ARTITUDE Magazine; helmed the audiofile Tapes cassette and CDR label from 1984 to 1999; and has hosted the weekly program "Space Patrol!" at http://luxuriamusic.com since 2003. Louis Boone passed away in April 2010 of causes likely related to diabetes. The three CDs by LofG&B are offered in tribute to his memory, and to the memory of Douglass Walker of Alien Planetscapes, who passed away in 2006.
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