Bad Trips – Drink the Ooze
1.30.23 by Ryan Masteller
When my son was little, he used to dig CAVE’s “Neverendless,” a slab of extended head-spinning kraut jams from Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, et al. He loved that the songs were long, and knew by heart that track 2, “This Is the Best,” was exactly fourteen minutes and six seconds long. Bad Trips (too scary!), some grotesque combination of members of Painted Faces, Aviary, and Slasher Risk (too scary!), have attempted to one-up CAVE on the long-kraut-jams front, with not one but TWO tracks clocking in at my son’s favorite runtime! (Well, close enough anyway – each one is fourteen minutes and fourteen seconds, as if they ran out of tape two seconds too early.) I’m going to have to play this for him and see what he thinks, although he’s eleven now. (He’s into so much good music though!)
Taking cues from 1991 Shredder, the Bad Trips crew aim to ingest the same radioactive ooze that birthed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and morph into some kind of super-powerful, all-knowing rock band that will melt both faces and minds. (Michelangelo was my favorite, because he was a party dude.) However: as things so often do under a moniker of “Bad Trips,” circumstances take a turn for the worse. While side A’s title track begins as a propulsive, full-band jam, cells and molecules begin to break down halfway through, and synth blurps and squiggles go into full-on Buckaroo Banzai scientific laser pulse mode. You can just feel the flesh from the Bad Trips crew softening and liquefying. By side B’s “Anteater,” everything’s recombining into something weirder and less human, but it’s solidifying into something! We – and by “we” I mean all of us, science, humanity, everybody – are just not sure what it is, or if its goal is to now wipe us all out and claim the earth for itself.
Too friggin’ scary! The ooze, everybody…
But if you like your science of the fiction-y side, and if you’re willing to grapple with existential conundrums, … or even if you’re just infatuated by all the farts and squeaks and wobbles and blurts that synthesizers make, you are in for maybe the time of your life. And that time is exactly fourteen minutes and fourteen seconds per side. I’m never going to forget that now. But I will go in on a large pie if anybody wants to do halfsies…
Edition of 100, out now (officially on January 20, 2023, so I’m in the right year!) on Already Dead.