Some of the People, All of the Time – Schizophonic, 6/11/11

Words fail me. The guitarist from Schizophonic has a beard about two feet long, two feet wide and, for all I know, two feet deep. It is a startling sight, unnecessary and deliberately provocative. For his – o ho ho – cheek, and for the fact that he hogs the centre stage looking prominent and smug whilst his colleagues skulk behind their keyboards and turntable, in my head he’s come to be accountable for all the wrongdoings of his group.

This is Schizophonic from Bangalore, by the way, not the Schizophonics from Jacksonville who show up first when you search for the name on the internet. That threw me off for a while, a blurb talking of “slamming beats and thought-provoking lyrics” when these heroes of the revolution have barely got it together enough to play in time, let alone “slam” any “beats”. And they don’t sing. From their own ad, then, “…deep, dark dub delays and hip-hop turn-tablism to jazz piano and blues guitar licks, all human-generated sound is fed into an electronic hive-mind that behaves intuitively”, i.e., the view from up here in my arse is glorious and won’t you pay to watch.

The trouble with bands from small scenes is, they either turn themselves into bland crowd-pleasers in a stab at wider popularity, or they accept their fate, viz. that nobody’ll ever listen to them anyway, so why not just go roundly to hell. Shizophonic have worked this one out. They don’t stand a chance of cracking a global market and they’re not going to risk life and reputation trying. In the meantime, enough people are stoned enough and clueless enough to have a vast con-job pulled on them right here. Et voila. So, for our sins, we had forty minutes – or was it shorter? it’s impossible to tell – of wandering guitar bits over e-drums and piano solos, existing beyond Beefheart’s worst excesses, beyond even the huge and desolate realm of free-jazz, just three people doing the musical equivalent of stumbling about and bumping into each other looking ecstatic all the while. A more prim reviewer would call it “experimental/electronic”; I will put it on record that I show more restraint and dignity when I wank.

Schizophonic’s music sounds like the guy’s beard looks. It sprawls in all directions for no better reason than it can and has been allowed to, and that nobody has called his bluff . It is otherwordly and it seems to be the result of a lot of self-contented stroking, and what it really needs is for one single courageous man to rush the stage and lob it off with a pair of shears, ending the madness once and for all.

I found this “hive-mind” flinging its wreckage from under three giant five-foot dragonflies with tea-strainer eyes, at an audience of stoned goofus misfits and at least one life-size papier-mâché doll, all of which was more than it deserved.


24 thoughts on “Some of the People, All of the Time – Schizophonic, 6/11/11

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  2. One expects a critique to be more objective and analytical. This one smacks of personal vendetta – written by a frustrated, wannabe musician maybe?

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  4. Whoever has written this “critique”, certainly has had “pure reason” back the hell out of his ass. The great escape of that pressure couldn’t have been less stinky than the experience of trying to decipher the verbiage that follows the prophetic preamble of ‘words fail me’.

    What I did gather from this hip-cool shoot-from-the-space-between-where-he-wanks-and-farts is:

    a. Captain Beefheart is etched in his muddled memory more for his “excesses” than for his.. erm.. music?
    b. Free jazz is to him a “huge and desolate realm”
    c. He has either a pathological dislike of beards (typically these things come from bad childhood experiences), or he has had some problem or another with the said bearded gentleman. I am guessing ZZ Top will not figure among our man’s fav bands either, but hey, people like this are not consistent, you know.

    Anyway. I thought the Schizophonic music is breaking some fantastic new boundaries. Even if I assume that new-age electronic music or classic guitar chops are not his scene, I am not sure of why the fantastic key work doesnt find any reference in this critique, I am confused if the writer has somehow blocked off the jaw-dropping turntable acoustics that the third member of the trio produced.

    Possibly I am missing something – not about the music, but about on what basis such biased blather is allowed to be posted. Hope he isnt getting paid for this shite. Ah well. the world is one weird wide web.

    • Sure, I don’t mind getting paid at all. If you can arrange this minor matter, you can keep any percentage of your choice, not exceeding 100.

      But before you start getting all starry eyed from being appointed my agent, Mr/Ms Shitflower, I’d like you to confirm if you gave yourself your evocative name (with mommy and daddy standing by), was it bestowed upon you based on privileged information, or was it inherited?

      • That’s precious, Mr. Self-important Asshole. But tell you what, it beats the hell out of ‘Schizophonic’, or for that matter, whatever unimaginative drivel your pseudonym means.

  5. I recommend glittering up the beard. The sparkles would keep the females in the crowd transfixed, unable to tear their eyes away from the band.

  6. Well I like the band. Knowing them, I don’t think they want to change the world. They are three buggers having phun. Little harsh I’d say!

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  9. I’m a fan of your writing. It certainly makes for an interesting read. I was at the show. For a while. Before I got kicked out. Yeah.

    Anyways. I happened to enter just before Schizophonic started playing. I don’t remember the day too clearly. They could have done better, but they weren’t bad as you make them out to be. I’d go as far as to say that I kind of enjoyed it.

    I’m guessing the kind of music they played just wasn’t down your alley.

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    • I am not sure if that is any consolation, Lulz. Earlier this year, I went to a fairly renown performance artist’s reinterpretation of Wagner’s Ring. The performance was an utter failure, all the equipment failed. The chickens in cages on the side of the stage (meant to come on as the Valkyries perhaps) were distressed and we were asked to leave the cold and dingy basement after 5 minutes of puppetry. While I stood at the bar of the performance venue perplexed and confused, my friend tells me “Oh look, it says here in the programme that the artist claims that this performance is doomed to fail”. Furious for having paid full-price for the ticket, and short of breaking things, I proceeded to eat all the free soup they had been ladling for the patrons, bread and all. Point being, it’s bloody irritating to see any artist hide behind the fact that their performance can be “unpredictable” and “fail”. Practice, have sound-checks, and have some integrity for fuck’s sake.

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