How We Quit The Forest (Columbia)
by Clarendon Lavorich
Innovation is practically nonexistent, and at best a commercial disaster. We can posit that in the Western 12 note system, all possible combinations have been attempted, with a varying degree of success per. In the realm of popular music, the number of “acceptable” combinations is small, and they’ve been recycled to the nth degree (e.g. the chord progression to “Louie, Louie,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and “Wild Thing” are identical). So the only way left to “innovate” is to combine currently existing forms. Rasputina, a group that was certainly original for the ’90s, on their debut, Thanks for the Ether, used three cellos, an occasional drum beat, and a voice that reminded one of old 78 rpm records. But where to go from there? These three young corset-attired women decided to innovate – they grabbed Chris Vrenna (X-NIN) to help produce, bringing in an electronic aspect to the modern chamber trio. Much more drumming, distortion and wah pedals galore, even bleeping and blooping are featured on How We Quit The Forest. Still evident are the bizarre humor (the possessed and a holy water enema among the subjects they explore) and heavy name-dropping (Rose Kennedy, Space Ghost) of their last effort. They also perform a superb version of Peggy Lee’s “You Don’t Own Me,” in their own unique style. All in all, How We Quit The Forest surpasses even their debut in innovation and originality. Thus, no one is going to like it. But I do.
(550 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10022)