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[Off The Record]
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Industrial godfather Jim Thirwell, who has been releasing albums under variations of the pseudonym Foetus (Scraping Foetus off the Wheel, You’ve Got Foetus on Your Breath, etc. . . .) for 20 years, makes a grand, grotesque comeback from his personal drugs-and-mental-decay hour of darkness with this blistering disc. " Someone Who Cares " is indicative of his latest bent, tempering with beauty the unremitting ugliness that’s the base of his music. While Thirwell whines and growls about frustration and indifference, snaky little keyboard and horn melodies twist through the mix over a tribal drum kit and dirty, grinding bass. Then female vocals ladle on the sugar. That’s a trick he’s learned from his recent work as DJ Otefsu on the electronica/trip-hop club circuit — give ’em the hard grooves, but sweeten them up so they stick.

Thirwell’s sprawling interests take things wider and deeper, too, juxtaposing jazz guitar and noise guitar in " Victim or Victor? " and throwing Henry Mancini horns and strings into " Heuldoch 7B, " a sizzling story of the undoing of a romance. Flow is set at a zestier pace than previous Foetus discs, with all sorts of sonic landmines exploding constantly. But thanks to Thirwell’s new melodic interests, it boasts a cleaner mix that honors the fine details. The result is a rocking high-wire balance of dementia and determination.


Issue Date: July 26 - August 2, 2001

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